PNM is warning its customers throughout New Mexico to be on the lookout for phone scams, especially on the weekends. 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 prepaid gift card.
Please report the scam to PNM. Even if you realized it was a scam, please report it because the more information we have about the scam may prevent another person from falling victim to this crime.
If you would like to take it a step further, 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. The FBI is asking New Mexico PNM customers for help by reporting the details of any scammers who may have contacted them to the FBI so the agency can track and analyze them against similar scams and suspects. Report scam details to the FBI. You can also file a complaint with the FTC and the New Mexico Attorney General's office.
Spoofing is a tactic that 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.
Classic sign of a phone scam
The common element in all the phone scams is the demand to only make payments with prepaid gift cards. This is a scam.
Spotting a scammer
Scammers are smart and are getting more and more savvy everyday to try and convince people they are legitimate.
- Scammers will claim they are with PNM. If you suspect the person on the other end may not be with PNM, hangup and call us yourself at 888-DIAL-PNM (888-342-5766). We can tell you if a PNM representative contacted you, and whether you are past due.
- Scammers often spoof the PNM phone number on your caller ID, making it look like PNM is calling you.
- Scammers sometimes call you from what looks like a local number or a number that is similar to your own.
- Scammers sometimes leave a false number for you to return their call. When you do, you hear similar on-hold messages as PNM, but often is low sound-quality.
- Scammers will claim you are past-due on your bill. 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) Monday through Friday from 7:30 A.M. until 6 P.M. If you wanted to verify your balance, you can also text #BAL to 78766 from the phone number connected to your PNM account. PNM will instantly text you your account balance so you know whether or not you were just called by a scammer. Not registered to text with PNM? Text #REG to 78766 from the phone number connected to your PNM account to register. Even if you are late with your bill, there are several ways to quickly and safely pay without giving the caller personal or financial information.
- Scammers will demand you pay within a short window of time, usually 1-hour, to avoid shutoff.
- Scammers usually demand between $200-$500 for residential customers and more than $1000 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 and more likely that red flags will just be bypassed. This tactic is intentional. PNM does not shutoff power over the weekend or on holidays. 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.
- And the most classic sign of a scam: scammers ask or demand you pay your supposedly past-due bill with a prepaid gift card. PNM will never ask or demand customers pay a past-due bill with a prepaid gift card.
- Additionally, there are reports of solar sales people that are posing as PNM employees purporting to sell solar panels to homeowners. It is our understanding that these are likely solar sales lead generators that are obtaining customer information and selling it to solar contractors. They may say they work directly for PNM or that they have been contracted by PNM to install solar on homes. We've received reports that sometimes these people are door-to-door rooftop solar salesmen that claim to work for PNM and ask to see your private PNM bill as a lead-in to sell you something. While PNM works proudly with many reputable solar companies, we are not affiliated with this deceptive tactic. If you know of any companies engaging in these practices, please report them to the New Mexico Attorney General's office as soon as possible. Visit nmag.gov and click on the "Submit a Complaint" button to properly report the incident.
Does PNM contact customers about past-due bills?
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. Prepaid gift cards are never part of the conversation, and if they are, PNM encourages customers to hang-up and report the scam.
If you need to make a payment quickly
- Make a payment online
- Initiate the call yourself by calling PNM 1-888-DIAL PNM (888-342-5766) and follow the prompts for making a payment 24/7.
- Or you can call KUBRA EZ-PAY directly at 1-844-PNM-PYMT (844-766-7968) to make a payment.
- Make a payment at more than 70 Western Union throughout our service area. Your payment will be noted in our system within 1 hour. Find a location near you.
Spread the word. Tell your friends, family and coworkers about the phone scammers. PNM wants to help keep you safe and secure.