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Big Island Police Warning Public About Telephone Scam

Hawaiʻi Island police are warning the public about a telephone scam from persons claiming to be from the Department of Water Supply.

HPDBadgeThe individuals call Water Supply customers and threaten to shut off their water service because of a past due water bill.

According to the Department of Water Supply, the calls are fraudulent and are an attempt to gain access to credit card information.

The public is advised that if they receive such a call, they should report it to the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 935-3311.

Members of the community also may call the Department of Water Supply’s office at 961-8050 to file an additional report.

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.

Big Island Police Warning the Public About a Telephone Scam Involving Persons Impersonating Utility Workers

Hawaiʻi Island police are warning the public about a telephone scam involving persons impersonating utility workers.

HPDBadgeIn this scam, the perpetrators call the victims and inform them that their utility bill is delinquent and that their service will be shut off. They then instruct the victims to make payment directly to the scammers by telephone.

Police advise members of the public who receive a call about their utility bill to hang up and then call the utility company directly at a published phone number (not a number they receive from the caller) to find out if the call is legitimate.

Citizens should never give out any personal information over the telephone to persons who call them and ask for it.