ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s latest annual report on internet crimes shows that New Mexicans reported losing nearly $13 million to internet scams last year. It might sound like a lot, but it’s actually a decrease from the previous year.
In 2020, while New Mexicans enjoyed pandemic-inspired online shopping and dating, scammers got away with nearly $24 million, according to reports submitted to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). In 2021, by comparison, scammers got away with about 46% less of the state’s hard-earned money.
KRQE News 13 previously reported that many online scams targeted New Mexico‘s elderly. In 2021 elderly New Mexicans made up the largest share of victims when considering all scam types. 671 victims over the age of 60 reported $5.6 million in losses in 2021, according to the FBI.
Among the elderly, romance scams were particularly popular during the pandemic, according to the FBI.
“Romance scams are when you go online and you meet somebody in cyberspace who wants to develop a relationship with you,” Frank Fisher, a public affairs officer for the Albuquerque division of the FBI, told KRQE News 13 last year. “This can be as benign as just winning your confidence, to become your friend, so you can share things with that person.” But in the end, they can end up stealing a victim’s personal information or money.
In 2021, romance scams were still taking victims’ money….