Police Issue Mail Scam Warning
Big Island police are warning residents about two recent mail scams.
The first scam was reported by a Hilo resident who received a letter claiming to be from the magazine Readers’s Digest.
The letter claimed the recipient had won a lump sum payment of $500,000. The letter contained a check for $3,00 and a number to call for instructions.
When police called the number, the person answering asked a variety of personal financial questions and then gave specific instructions to cash the check and send the money via Western Union.
The other scam, which also targeted a Hilo resident, purported to be from an insurance company claiming that the recipient was to receive a payout from a policy on a recently deceased relative. It requested that a taxpayer identification form be filled out and faxed, along with a copy of the recipient’s driver’s license, to a number printed on the letter.
Police said these letters are variations of the same scam designed to obtain money, or financial information, or both. The checks are fake, so anyone who cashes them will suffer financial loss.
The public should know that many of these scams originate in foreign countries, making the recovery of stolen funds extremely unlikely, police said.