• The average victim in NM lost $4,827 last year.


In the neighborhoods of Rio Rancho and Bernalillo, several people have reported scams.

One man on Nextdoor said, “Fraud Alert! Someone tried to scam me with the Zelle App. Fortunately, I’m too old school to use money transfer apps. I highly advise against selling items on Craigslist. That seems to be where the frauds seek out would be victims.”

Zelle is an app that allows people to send and receive money virtually.

Another woman reported text scams from fake Amazon orders.

“He was quite pleasant when I told him I didn’t place the order,” she said. “Then he wanted me to download a Remote Desktop app. I told him I was not going to do that. He then started getting mad at me telling me that I had better listen to him and do what he told me to do. I hung up on him and notified Amazon. My neighbor also received a phone call about a fraudulent Amazon order,” she said.

Money lost to online scams has doubled since COVID-19, according to a recent study by Social Catfish, a scam investigation software.

In the U.S., a record of $6.9 billion was lost in 2021, up from $3.5 billion in 2019 per the FBI IC3. The amount lost has nearly doubled since the start of the global pandemic.

In New Mexico, 2,644 victims lost $15 million in 2021. The average victim in the state lost $4,827 last year.

Federal Trade Commission data on social media scams.

There are several things people can do to avoid these attacks and what to do if they are scammed.

Here are five to help avoid online, according to McAffee (a virus and scam protection app.)

1. Do not give money to anyone you have never met in person.

2. Do not give out personal information if you have never met in person

3. Perform a reverse search using photos, emails, phone numbers, and addresses to verify if the person or entity you are speaking to online is who they say they are.

4. Big red flags include poor grammar, refusing to video chat, being in the military, working overseas, asking to be paid in gift cards or cryptocurrency.

5. Use a password manager to create many passwords ,so if one has been compromised, the rest of your accounts are protected.