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Avoiding Internet Scams

Scammers are looking for an easy target, so it is important to remember that you have the power to not fall victim to these scams.
March 15, 2018

It is unfortunate that we even need to write an article on this topic. But we’ve heard too many stories about associations receiving scam phone calls or emails.

How to Avoid Becoming a Victim

  • You control the conversation. Ask questions. The more information you get from the person on the other end the more confidence you will have that they are either a scammer or a legitimate business. A legitimate business will always be willing to send you more information.
  • Trust your instinct. If something feels “not-right,” it is worth more investigation.
  • Come up with a code word that only your association board knows (make sure not to share it anywhere publicly) and use that word when you are asking for vendor payments.
  • Make sure the association treasurer knows which vendors you are working with and what money should be owed ahead of time so they won’t expect any last-minute e-mails.
  • Be careful what you put on social media. Scammers troll social media to find facts about you or your association to build a false sense of trust.
  • Always verify the information by initiating contact. You want to make sure that you are speaking to the correct person. For example: if you as the treasurer for your association receive an email from the president asking you to send money to a vendor, get on the phone and verify with the president before you make that transaction.
  • Do not wire-transfer money. Period.
  • Never provide personal information unless you initiated the contact.
  • Hang up the phone if you have any concern. Scammers often prey on trusting, polite people.

What are the Warning Signs?

  • There is an element of surprise. If you are surprised by a bill, don’t pay it without first verifying its authenticity.
  • There is a sense of urgency. If the money is needed by 5 o'clock or else, that is a clue that something might not be right.
  • You are asked to pay by a specific means. A legitimate business will always accept multiple forms of payment. If you’re asked to pay with a pre-paid gift card, watch out! It’s a scam!
  • The caller threatens you.
  • The caller won’t give you a number where you can call them back.

What to do?

What to do if you become a victim? File a police report with Albuquerque Police Department:

In order to attempt to recover any loss, you will need a police report.

Report the Scam

  • To report telephone scams:
  • To report IRS scams: contact the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) at 1-800-366-4484
  • To report mail scams: contact the US Postal Inspector General Fraud Hotline at 1-877-876-2455
  • To report internet scams: contact the Internet Crime Complaint Center (FBI)

View APD information about scams.

Identify Theft

If you believe you could become a victim of identity theft based on personal information you shared with a scammer:

What Now?

Be a good neighbor. If you have an elderly neighbor check on them and share this information with them. Make sure they have the tools they need to protect themselves.

Get connected to the Office of the Attorney General. They frequently offer trainings on this subject. To find out more about the services they offer, call (505) 717-3500.

About This Article

The Office of Neighborhood Coordination collaborated with Albuquerque Police detectives and individuals from the Office of the Attorney General to write this article.