PNM is warning its customers throughout New Mexico to be on the lookout for phone scams on the weekend.
PNM is seeing a surge in scam reports from residential and business customers that scammers are spoofing the PNM name and phone number, pretending to be with PNM, are insisting a past due balance is owed, and are threatening to disconnect electricity unless customers pay, within an hour, with a pre-paid gift card.
The spoofing tactic includes adding a false PNM caller ID name on their phone number to get customers to answer or they leave false call-back phone numbers.
Then when customers return the call, they hear similar on-hold messages as PNM, often with a low sound quality, duping customers into thinking it is legitimate. The common element in all the phone scams is the demand to only make payments with pre-paid gift cards. This is a scam.
PNM has received more than 930 scam reports this year, with 440 reports so far this month. Scammers usually demand between $200-$500 for residential customers and more than $1,000 for commercial customers.
Scammers tend to target customers by calling during weekends, when PNM is closed, making it more difficult to verify the scammer’s claims. This tactic is intentional.
Scam reports show that customers went against their better judgement, reacted out of fear, and overlooked the red flags of the scam explaining they were afraid to be without power over the weekend.
PNM will never demand customers pay their past-due bill with a pre-paid gift card. PNM does not shut off power over the weekend or on holidays.
Customers should check their own bill for their current balance. If customers are ever uncertain if a caller is from PNM, hang up and initiate the call yourself at 888-DIAL-PNM (888-342-5766), 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Customers can also check their bill and current balance on PNM’s website — pnm.com.
PNM has a responsibility to notify customers about past due balances and does sometimes reach out to customers, but PNM would never ask customers to pay with a pre-paid gift card.
PNM notifies customers of the balance, offers assistance programs, encourages customers to verify their balance on their own, and customers can pay using an option they feel most comfortable.
Pre-paid gift cards are never part of the conversation, and if they are, PNM encourages customers to hang-up and report the scam.
PNM is working the Federal Bureau of Investigation Internet Crime Complaint Center because these fraudsters are using VoIP telecommunication phone lines to scam customers out of money, which is a federal crime.
PNM and the FBI are asking New Mexico customers for help by reporting the details of any scammers that may have contacted them to the FBI so the agency can track and analyze them against similar scams and suspects.
Reports can be made at ic3.gov. PNM is also asking customers to report the same information by calling 888-DIAL-PNM.
To learn more, visit PNM.com/help or at PNM.com/ayuda para Español.
The Valencia County News-Bulletin is a locally owned and operated community newspaper, dedicated to serving Valencia County since 1910 through the highest journalistic and professional business standards. The VCNB is published weekly on Thursdays, including holidays both in print and online.