Police Warn of Advance Fee Scam
The Hawai‘i Police Department is warning the public of “advance fee schemes.”
According to financial institutions, the scam is common and can include claims of winning gifts, investments, loans, and other opportunities. The common factor in the scheme involves the victim paying money to someone in exchange for something of great value, but never receiving anything.
In a recent case, a 62-year-old Kona woman received a check totaling over $6,000 that appeared to be from a legitimate bank. The check was accompanied by a letter claiming the woman had won money in a lottery, and needed to deposit the check and wire a fee to the sender. Suspicious of the check, the woman took it to her bank where it was determined to be counterfeit.
Anyone who receives a suspicious check is advised to take it to their financial institution for verification. Recipients should also refrain from sending any fee money until the check clears the bank.
Clues to possible scams can be companies with only Post Office box numbers listed as addresses, or the lack of a direct telephone line that is answered when called. The public is advised to check with the State Department of Consumer Affairs or the Better Business Bureau if a business seems unfamiliar or its legitimacy is in question.