Hawaii Residents Being Targeted for Scams

Hawaiʻi Island police are warning the public about several scams that have been reported by island residents.

HPDBadgeTelephone Scams:

A Keaʻau couple reported being the target of three telephone scams within two weeks. The first was a telephone call to their cell phone claiming they had won the Publisher’s Clearing House prize of several million dollars and that someone would arrive in a couple of hours to deliver it. The area code showed the call originated from Jamaica.

The second apparent scam was a call to the couple’s home phone from a blocked number by a woman with a foreign accent who began to ask questions about the recipient’s computer.

Credit Card Blocked Scam:

The third scam was a late-night phone call from an Arkansas area code with a “mechanical female voice” claiming the couple’s Master Card had been blocked. The recipient hung up the phone and then researched the scam and learned that the next step is for the caller to ask for the recipient’s credit card number.

Police urge the public to be suspicious of requests for personal information over the telephone or by internet and not to provide such information without independently verifying that the request is legitimate.

Real Estate Email Scam:

Hawaiʻi Island police are warning the public about an email scam from someone posing as a real estate agent.

A Puna man received an email claiming that his home would be seized by police because of suspected illegal activities. It states that the recipient has 30 days to vacate the premises or he will face fines or jail time. It instructs the recipient to contact the sender to make arrangements for moving out of the home. An attachment—which the letter claims has a “legal statement” and contact information for the real estate company—actually contains a computer virus.

The Police Department does not seize residential property without a court order, and citizens are not subject to criminal fines or jail sentences without going through the judicial process.

Police alert the public not to open email attachments from senders they do not know, as they often contain viruses that can infect computers and might ask for personal information that could allow the sender to steal the recipient’s identity. Police recommend deleting unsolicited emails with attachments.

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