Nov. 19, 2018
Scammers targeting PNM customers, PNM working with FBI
PNM and FBI asking residential and business customers to report attempts
Albuquerque: PNM is receiving reports from business and residential customers that scammers claiming to be with PNM are threatening to disconnect electricity unless a payment is made. Nearly 550 scam reports from PNM customers have been received since October 26 and that number continues to grow.
PNM is working the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) 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 www.ic3.gov. PNM is also asking customers to report the same information by calling 888-DIAL-PNM.
PNM customers throughout New Mexico are being targeted with a steep influx in the last 3-weeks. Scamming electric customers out of money by threatening to shut off their power is not new, and utilities across the country see it often. The scam has been known to come in various forms, including the following:
- Scammers add a false PNM caller ID name on their phone number to get customers to answer.
- Imposters leave false call-back phone numbers, then when customers return the call, they hear similar on-hold music or pre-recorded messages as PNM, duping customers in thinking it is legitimate.
- Fraudsters often target customers on Fridays or the day before a holiday, threatening disconnection of service over the weekend or during the holiday unless they pay within a small window of time, usually with a pre-paid gift card. This is designed to panic customers into paying, even when all the signs of a scam are present.
- Customers have reported that scammers ask them to purchase pre-paid gift cards then have them read the codes over the phone, never even meeting anyone in person, with the hope that the threat goes away.
- The newest one is where a scammer calls a customer saying that due to system upgrades or construction in the area, their power will soon be turned off. They instruct the customer to log off all computers and to flip their breakers off until work is complete. They do not immediately ask for payment, but soon thereafter, the scammer tells the customer they need to pay up to have their power turned back on and customers often panic. If this situation were true, the customer could simply flip their breakers back over and power would be restored.
“Unfortunately, scammers continue to develop new and sophisticated ways to steal money from customers who work hard for their money,” said Shannon Jackson, spokesperson with PNM. “But there are things customers should keep in mind that can help them to recognize these scams and to protect themselves from falling victim to it.”
- Check your bill. If you have not received a bold disconnect notice on page 1, it's a scam.
- Customers can call the number on their bill to find the true status of their account.
- PNM does sometimes make calls to customers who are past due, but scammers have no way of knowing who those customers are.
- If you are asked to purchase pre-paid gift cards or pay through PayPal, it is a scam.
If customers ever feel like their safety is at risk, local law enforcement should be contacted immediately by calling 911.
With headquarters in Albuquerque, PNM is the largest electricity provider in New Mexico, serving more than 500,000 customers in dozens of communities across the state. PNM is a subsidiary of PNM Resources, an energy holding company also headquartered in Albuquerque. For more information, visit PNM.com.