As most cannabis licensees know, data about any publicly licensed business is public record. That’s great for consumers looking to identify credible operators, but those records are also prime targets for scammers.
This week, the State’s Cannabis Control Division issued another fraud/scam warning to licensees warning them to be aware of new scams perpetrated against New Mexico operators.
From the Cannabis Control Division:
The New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department has learned of an attempted fraud scheme aimed at licensees. In the scheme, scam artists identify themselves as New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department staff or investigators, and notify the licensee that they are under investigation, that their license may be suspended, or that an arrest warrant has been issued in the licensee’s name, and then they will demand money.
In some instances, scam artists identify themselves as other entities including local police, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) or the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
The callers may be “spoofing” telephone numbers to make the calls appear to be coming from the New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department.
The best deterrence against these bad actors is awareness and caution. All licensees should be aware of unsolicited calls and emails from scammers impersonating a government agency. This is a trick fraudsters use to make a quick buck at the expense of hardworking consumers.
The New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department will never contact licensees demanding money or payment of any form or personal information without conducting an official investigation or inquiry. If you receive such a call, please refuse the demand for payment and hang up.
With any suspicious phone call, the Department advises that a safe practice is to hang up before revealing any personal information and for the individual to initiate a return phone call by calling a number researched on their own, rather than relying on the caller ID, to ensure that they are speaking with the actual agency.
Please also consider the following:
- NEVER disclose any personal information, i.e., social security numbers, date of births, or credit/debit card numbers.
- If you receive a call, contact the New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department directly at (505) 476-4500 to inquire if an official investigation is being conducted.
- If the caller is stating they are from the DEA, report the scam using the DEA’s Extortion Scam online reporting form: .https://wwwdea.gov/stories/2019/06/11/alert-extortion-scam-targeting-dea-registrants
- If the caller is stating they are from the FBI, report the scam using the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center reporting form: https://www.ic3.gov/default.aspx
- If the phone number of the caller appears to be a New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department telephone number, report the scam using the Federal Communications Commission’s consumer complaint form: https://consumercomplaints.fcc.gov/hc/en-us/articles/115002234203-Unwanted-Calls-Phone-
The New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department regulates more than 500,000 individuals and businesses in 35 industries, professions, and trades across the state. Its goal is to assure that New Mexicans receive quality services from qualified individuals and businesses while also ensuring fair and prompt administrative process.