Raúl Torrez | Attorney General

SCAM ALERT: AG Balderas Issues COVID-19 Scam Alert and Safety Advisory to New Mexican Consumers

For Immediate Release:
March 19, 2020
Contact: Matt Baca — (505) 270-7148

Santa Fe, NM — Today, Attorney General Hector Balderas issued a consumer safety
advisory, warning New Mexican consumers of various scams related to the coronavirus
outbreak. This advisory comes in the wake of many reports to the Office of the Attorney
General of consumer price gouging and COVID-19 scams emerging in New Mexico.
“We must protect the health and safety of New Mexican families during this emergency,
and that includes protecting them from fraud and abuse when they are most
vulnerable,” said Attorney General Balderas. “My office will prosecute anyone who
breaks the law and takes advantage of vulnerable New Mexicans.”
Attorney General Balderas encourages all consumers to be especially vigilant during
this time and to be aware of the following:
• COVID-19 HOTLINE SCAM Please be aware there are several phishing scams
where the caller impersonates a representative from the COVID-19 Hotline or
other medical entity. The scammer is asking for personal information like social
security and date of birth, telling callers they must have that information in
order to release COVID-19 testing results. Remind the public that we will never
ask for your social security number. Any confirmation of a positive COVID-19
swab test will be made by the clinic where you were seen or the New Mexico
Department of Health.
• GENERAL PHONE SCAMS If anyone makes an empty promise that requires
upfront payment, demands personal or financial information, or asks you to pay
them with a gift card, this is likely a scam. Do your research. Please remember
that real legal notices are sent in writing and are not communicated over the
phone.
• DOOR-TO-DOOR SCAMS Recently, there have been reports of groups or
individuals going door-to-door falsely claiming to be doing in-home testing for
coronavirus. Some scammers may claim to be from the government or
authorized by the government.
• COVID-19 CURE SCAMS There is no FDA-approved cure for coronavirus. Any
company claiming that their product can prevent, diagnose, treat, or cure
coronavirus without competent medical research supporting their claims is
breaking the law. There is no credible evidence that coronavirus can be cured
by drinking bleach, drinking colloidal silver, taking herbal supplements, or using
other homeopathic remedies. When in doubt, consult a medical professional.
• IMPLIED CLAIMS SCAMS In order to evade liability, some companies will
merely imply that their products prevent, diagnose, treat, or cure coronavirus.
Read claims carefully so you understand what is being promised and what is
not
• E-MAIL PHISHING SCAMS Do not click on links sent to you by people you don’t
know. In the wake of disasters like the coronavirus outbreak, scammers will
often email or text consumers claiming to offer things like free vaccines or free
testing kits. Scammer will also attempt to collect personal information by
impersonating a government agency like the Centers for Disease Control, the
World Health Organization, the United Nations, and others. Never provide your
personal information to someone you don’t know.
• FUNDRAISING SCAMS If anyone asks you for a donation to a coronavirusrelated charity, do your homework before donating. Visit the Attorney General’s
Charities webpage to search for legitimate charities
(https://nmdoj.flywheelsites.com/charities.aspx) and do not donate to anyone asking for
cash, gift cards, or for money to be sent to them via wire transfer.
• GENERAL DISINFORMATION SPREADING Know how to spot disinformation.
Many websites will post misleading or inflammatory information about
coronavirus in order to drive up page views and make money from advertisers.
Here is a list of websites that have been reported for posting or publishing false
information about the coronavirus outbreak:
https://www.newsguardtech.com/coronavirus-misinformation-tracking-center/.
For legitimate information, visit the State of New Mexico’s comprehensive
resource site (newmexico.gov); the CDC’s website (www.cdc.gov); or the
World Health Organization’s website (www.who.int).
Any New Mexican that is suspicious of price gouging or scamming activity is urged to
immediately file a complaint with the Office of the Attorney General at nmag.gov.
Above all, Attorney General Balderas encourages New Mexicans to stay safe and follow
the orders and guidance of the Department of Health during this public health
emergency. Any New Mexican who has questions or needs resources during this
emergency should visit newmexico.gov or call 1-833-551-0518; or if they suspect that
they have, or have been exposed to, COVID-19 to immediately call the State’s Health
Hotline at 1-855-600-3453.

Raul Torrez

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