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NM logs 513 COVID fraud complaints

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) building is seen 19 September 2006 in Washington, DC.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Coronavirus-related scams are rolling in and ensnaring some New Mexicans.

From Jan. 1 to July 30, the Federal Trade Commission received 513 total reports of coronavirus related complaints from consumers in New Mexico.

All told, these reports added up to $293,000 in total fraud loss with a median loss of $251, according to data released by the FTC.

Nationwide, the FTC logged 76,519 coronavirus related fraud reports totalling $95.47 million in losses.

The scams themselves are wide-ranging, from scams about stimulus checks to scammers offering victims cures and treatments for the coronavirus.

But more than anything else, the top coronavirus-related complaint nationwide and in New Mexico relates to online shipping, which includes complaints about items not arriving or items that are different than advertised, a spokeswoman with the FTC said.

Online shipping complaints accounted for 108 of the complaints from New Mexico.

To avoid falling prey to a pandemic scam, the FTC recommends:

• Learning the difference between contact tracers and scammers. Contract tracers do not ask for money or financial information.

• Avoid responding to texts, calls and emails about government stimulus checks.

• Ignore offers for vaccinations and home test kits.

• Be wary of emails claiming to be from the CDC or WHO.

• Try to avoid cash and gift card donations.

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