ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The Albuquerque FBI Division is warning the public to watch out for holiday scams. “There is a far better chance of being protected if you just take an extra second to thinkg about if this activity is reasonable,” said FBI Intelligence Analyst Brian Soucie.
Agents say in 2019, New Mexicans lost $18 million in online scams. This year, 40% of New Mexicans have reported scams.
Officials say to use credit cards and secure websites when making holiday purchases. Also, never give out personal information through unsolicited emails and texts.
The FBI warns local shoppers to be on the lookout for online shopping scams, payment red flags, charity scams, and money mules. Shoppers are warned to stay away from unfamiliar websites offering unrealistic discounts on brand-name merchandise.
The FBI reports that some scams advertise “one-day-only” promotions from recognized brands and without being skeptical, some consumers may end up paying for an item, giving away personal information, and receiving nothing in return. Authorities report that payment red flags occur when sellers demand payment soley through gift cards.
Shoppers are sometimes encouraged to conduct wire transfers which allows criminals to quickly receive illicit funds. Charity-related frauds also increase during the holidays as the FBI reports, criminals use fake websites and email campaigns to solicit on behalf of fake charities.
Residents are also warned of money mules which can come in the form of unsolicited emails that promise easy money with little or no effort. The FBI states money mules transfer or move illegally acquired money on behalf of someone else.
Shoppers who suspect that they’ve been victimized are urged to immediately contact their financial institution, then call their local law enforcement agency or the FBI at 505-889-1300. You can also file a complaint regarding a holiday scam online at ic3.gov.