ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A New Mexico man said he tried calling what he thought was a general information line for the State of New Mexico. Instead, he got a person on the other end asking him for information.
The number 800-825-6639 is listed on more than a dozen directories on the internet.
“I was trying to go through the state information number which provides individual agency numbers,” Frank Martin said. “I think the number I called is actually an older number and the thing is, it’s all over the internet.”
Martin was correct.
Wyndham Kemsley, Public Information Officer for the state’s Department of Information Technology (DoIT), said it was the general information line from 2010-2015.
That’s no longer the case.
“If you call the number, it only rings a couple of times and then you’re talking to someone in India or in the Caribbean and they’re advertising a $100 gift card at Walmart and Target,” Martin said.
Martin, thinking he had misdialed, called the same number a few times. The only problem? He never got through.
“Disabled people and the elderly can’t afford these international scammers fishing for personal data, including bank account numbers, in the State of New Mexico,” he said.
Kemsley said the state disconnected the number in 2015. He said the phone company must have re-assigned it.
KRQE News 13 shared Martin’s concerns with Attorney General Hector Balderas’ office, who tried calling the number. They also found some major red flags.
“As soon as you call, they’re not identifying who they are with,” Cholla Khoury said.
That leads people like Khoury to believe that it could be a scam. Khoury is the AG’s Director of the Consumer and Environmental Protection Division. Now the number is on their radar.
“If you’ve won something, you should never have to pay to get your prize,” Khoury said. “If you send that money, we have a very hard time tracking it down or finding it.”
KRQE News 13 tried once more Wednesday afternoon and got an entirely different recording. It stated, “Are you or someone in your household 50 years of age or older?”
Kemsley sent KRQE News 13 a statement saying:
“With the rapid and continual expansion of the internet, the general information line does not exist anymore. Instead, we urge those with questions to consult the directory which can be found at www.phonebook.state.nm.us, which contains all state agency and division numbers.”
He did not say if state officials ever put out a notice telling people the number was no longer a state managed phone number.
Kemsley also said the number is not advertised on any state specific website.
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