Extremely deceptive texts and emails have been circulating in the state, appearing to come from “nmhealth.net,” a bogus website that underlies an effort to steal people’s identities, the real state Department of Health says.
The agency’s advice: Ignore them.
The messages are titled “New Mexico State COVID-19 Vaccine Status Validation” and have health department and Motor Vehicles Division logos at the top. They say the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and MVD require “immediate validation of your COVID-19 status.
“This is a waiver update and a compulsory one-time validation for all Mexico (sic) residents.” Among other things, the messages ask for your Social Security number.
Hmm. For one thing, we actually live just north of the country mentioned. For another, MVD deals with vehicle – not viral – issues.
Bruce Mann, a mostly retired doctor of internal medicine who hosts lectures and podcasts about the pandemic, warns people to be on the lookout for these texts and emails because they are “so official looking, I fear many will fall for it.”
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Here’s a new one that affects food delivery businesses.
Las Cruces police have received reports of bogus food orders totaling more than $100. The incidents resulted in separate deliveries sent to the same local elementary school, although no one at the school had phoned in an order.
Police suggest food delivery businesses get the phone number of the supposed customer and call back to confirm the order.
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If you get a notice that you’ve been scammed, the notice might be – yes, really – a scam.
This rather diabolical scheme involves an email, call or text message that says there’s been suspicious activity in your bank or other account, such as Netflix or PayPal.
The Better Business Bureau has gotten reports of these contacts, which appear to come from a legitimate company as an emergency alert. You are told to take quick action so your account won’t be compromised or so you won’t be charged for a fraudulent purchase. The email contains a link that asks for your account number, login and password.
In the phone call version of this scam, you might be told that there’s an expensive charge on your account that you didn’t make. Some victims were told to download phony “security software.” Doing this would give scammers access to passwords and other sensitive information.
Like so many fraud schemes, this one uses fear and intimidation to get people to act quickly without thinking.
Always take your time, and if you’re uncertain about your account, go directly to the website rather than clicking on any kind of link in an unsolicited communication.
Also, a little research goes a long way. Know how a business handles disputes and suspicious activity. For example, PayPal says it will not ask you to enter your password unless you’re on the login page.
Contact Ellen Marks at firstname.lastname@example.org or 505-823-3842 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 1-888-255-9210 or file a complaint at www.nmag.gov/file-a-complaint.aspx.