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The original item was published from 4/8/2020 12:07:18 PM to 4/8/2020 12:38:00 PM.

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Posted on: April 8, 2020

[ARCHIVED] Superintendent of Insurance, Attorney General Warn About COVID-19 Scams

Logo for both the NM Superintendent and the AG

The New Mexico Office of Superintendent of Insurance (“Superintendent”) and

the New Mexico Office of the Attorney General are warning businesses and consumers that conartists

and scammers are taking advantage of the panic, fear and confusion surrounding the

COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus) pandemic, and have intensified efforts to defraud and steal.

“Defrauding New Mexican families during the COVID-19 health emergency is unconscionable,”

said Attorney General Balderas. “Anyone who compromises our families’ access to health and

security will be prosecuted.”

Superintendent of Insurance Russell Toal noted that scams take many forms and are constantly

changing, but that most scams follow a common pattern. The scammer will use an unsolicited

letter, phone call, or text message to warn you about a risk to your health, safety, finances,

insurance or business. The scammer likely will offer you a “time sensitive” opportunity, or tell

you that you must take immediate action. To respond to the warning or opportunity, you will be

asked to purchase a product or service, or to provide personal identification information.

Very often, the scammer’s request or notice will appear to come from a government agency, a

reputable charity, or even an established business. A phone call or text message may appear to

come from a number you recognize. These deceptions are called “spoofing”, and are intended to

cause you to lower your guard.

Once you provide access to your information, a scammer may steal your identity or your money,

or may sell your information to criminals on the dark web. Because you may never recover money

lost to a scammer, and it can take years to restore a stolen identity, the Superintendent and the

Attorney General are urging all businesses and consumers to exercise extreme caution if you

receive any unsolicited letter, phone call or text message.

Examples of scams include:

● Offers for free COVID-19 home testing kits or promoting bogus COVID-19 cures.

● Pressures to require you to change your current health insurance, or warning you that your

health insurance is at risk unless you act immediately.

● Warnings from government agencies that you must take a "mandatory online COVID-19

test" with a malicious link.

● Warnings of impending quarantines with a malicious link or erroneous instructions

intended to cause panic.

● Offers for products or services, such as protective equipment or HVAC duct cleaning, as a

way to "protect" your home and family from the virus.

● Offers for work-from-home opportunities, student loan repayment plans, and debt

consolidation offers.

● A scammer may pretend to be a government agency and ask you to verify your identity.

Consumers aren’t the only target. Small businesses are also getting scam calls about virus-related

products or services.

Please remember, no government agency will ever call or text you to verify your personal

information or bank account details.

The Superintendent has warned insurers and insurance agents about engaging in insurance sales

practices that are deceptive and misleading. The Superintendent is confident that the persons and

companies it licenses will exercise every effort to avoid such practices. Regrettably, because

scammers and con-artists are rarely licensed and disregard our laws, individual New Mexicans

must take precautions themselves to avoid being scammed.

The Superintendent and the Attorney General offer the following tips to help you protect yourself

from scams, including Coronavirus scams:

● Do not respond to calls or texts from unknown numbers, or any others that appear


● Never share your personal or financial information via email, text messages, or over the


● Be cautious if you’re being pressured to share any information or make a payment


● Do not click any links in a text message. If a friend sends you a text with a suspicious link

that seems out of character, call them to make sure they weren’t hacked.

● Always check on a charity (for example, by calling or looking at its actual website) before


If you think you’ve been the victim of a scam, you can contact the Office of the Attorney General

at or call 1-844-255-9210 and press number 5. If the scam relates to insurance

or insurance coverage, you can call the Insurance fraud hotline at 1-877-807-4010 or report it

online at

Check the OSI Website for updates on COVID-19 related matters and


For more information about scam calls and texts, visit the FCC Consumer Help Center and the

FCC Scam Glossary. You can

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