A sophisticated version of the failure-to-appear-in-court fraud almost snookered a local mental health therapist recently.
The therapist got a call supposedly from the Bernalillo County sheriff’s office, saying an arrest warrant had been issued because the therapist had not complied with a subpoena ordering him to appear in court.
He was told he had been summoned to give expert testimony in a case involving an adolescent – a plausible scenario.
The weird aspect was that the therapist supposedly signed the very same subpoena, ordering himself to appear. All very confusing, of course, which is what the scammers were aiming for. The man was told to Google the scammers’ phone number if he wanted to verify, and sure enough it was a sheriff’s department phone number. He was told to follow directions but not go to the sheriff’s office because he would be arrested.
Instead, he did go to the office and learned it was all fake.
“I almost fell for it,” he said.
Lesson: if it sounds too strange to be true, it likely is. Also, remember that phone numbers can be spoofed, so even if it looks like a legitimate one, you should verify.
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No, the U.S. Postal Service does not have an outstanding package for you that contains a gift card with millions of dollars on it.
The “parcel pending text message scam” says the package from last May has been held up for anti-terrorism or other security purposes, according to Scam Detector.
Before you get your jackpot of a box, you must purchase a “duly sworn affidavit” and go to a specified website. The most common ones used are: l1smc.info, l2scr.info, l3smr.info and l4svo.info, Scam Detector says.
The fake messages come from these numbers: 917-705-3361, 917-941-7096 and 401-225-7193.
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A different kind of Amazon fraud has been making the rounds lately.
An Albuquerque man got a message on his home phone, saying that a $399.99 purchase on his account might not be legitimate. He was asked to call back a given number and verify whether he had, in fact, placed the order.
“If you didn’t make this purchase, we’ll help you get this off of your account,” he was told.
He smelled a skunk and instead looked at his Amazon account but found no evidence of any new purchase.
Reports from elsewhere about this scam say the phone number given is a fake. When consumers respond, they are told to go to strange websites that have nothing to do with Amazon or, in some cases, the callers take control of the person’s computer.
Use caution upon getting an unusual call from Amazon or other merchant telling you about a questionable purchase.
Do not give out information, but if you want to verify any problems, log into your account and use a trusted number to contact customer service.
Contact Ellen Marks at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are aware of what sounds like a scam. To report a scam to law enforcement, contact the New Mexico Consumer Protection Division toll-free at 1-844-255-9210.