Hawaiʻi Island police are warning the public about a new twist on a sweepstakes scam.
A 70-year-old Keaʻau woman received a phone call from someone at an 876 area code. The caller claimed the recipient had won a sweepstakes prize.
The woman was suspicious that it was a scam, so the caller asked for her credit card number and said he would pay off her credit card in an act of good faith. He told her to check with her bank for confirmation. The bank confirmed that a deposit to her account was pending, which alleviated the victim’s suspicions. It was later determined that the deposit was never completed.
Meanwhile, the suspect called the victim, claiming that tax and lottery laws require Hawaiʻi residents to pre-pay taxes before receiving prize winnings. He persuaded her to send a large sum of money to an address he provided.
Police caution the public not to fall prey to such scams and not to respond to requests for information or payment that come by telephone or through the internet.