Many New Mexicans want to help during the COVID-19 pandemic by contributing to charities, but the FBI is warning that scammers also want to help – as in helping themselves to your money.
Nationwide, the FBI and other law enforcement agencies have received reports of scammers soliciting donations for individuals, groups, and areas affected by COVID-19.
Scammers are leveraging the COVID-19 pandemic to steal your money, your personal information, or both.
Don’t let them.
Protect yourself and do your research before clicking on links purporting to provide information on the virus; donating to a charity online or through social media; contributing to a crowdfunding campaign; purchasing products online; or giving up your personal information in order to receive money or other benefits.
A charity scam occurs when a thief poses as a real charity or uses the name of a real charity get money from you. Be careful about giving money to any charity calling you for donations and be wary if you get a call about a donation pledge that you don’t remember making – it could be a scam.
Here are some tips on how to avoid becoming a victim of a charity fraud:
- Do your homework when it comes to donations, whether through charities or crowdfunding websites.
- Never donate in cash, by gift card, or by wiring money.
- Do not let anyone rush you into making a donation.
- Do not click on links from sources you don’t know. These could be attempts to download viruses onto your computer or cell phone.
The FBI has more tips at: https://www.fbi.gov/scams-and-safety/common-scams-and-crimes/charity-fraud
If you think you are a victim of a scam or attempted fraud involving COVID-19, you can report it without leaving your home by calling the Department of Justice’s National Center for Disaster Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721 or via the NCDF Web Complaint Form: https://www.justice.gov/disaster-fraud/ncdf-disaster-complaint-form