East Hawaii News

Police Warn of Scams Involving Calls to Area Code 876

June 4, 2013, 12:14 PM HST
* Updated June 4, 12:15 PM
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Big Island police are warning the public to be on the lookout for telephone scams that could result in expensive charges to one’s phone bill.

Police said the scammers attempt to solicit a return call to what appear to be toll-free numbers, but are actually international numbers.

For example, one of the ones most commonly used, area code 876, is in Jamaica and results in exorbitant fees billed to the caller of as much as $20 for a 30-second call.

Police said the scammers often target older citizens and claim that they won a valuable prize, such as a lottery or a car. They then ask for a processing fee before they can deliver the winnings.

“Please be aware that legitimate operations don’t require winners to pay before collecting their prizes,” said Lt. William Gary Souther.

The scammers sometime use Google Earth to identify local landmarks to make the scam appear more believable.

As always, police are reminding the public not to provide personal information such as bank accounts, PIN numbers or Social Security numbers over the phone or internet without confirming independently that the person asking for it is legitimate.

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