HPD Warns Public of Circulating Phone Scams

January 15, 2020, 4:20 PM HST (Updated January 15, 2020, 4:20 PM)
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The Hawaiʻi Police Department is warning the public about reported telephone scam circulating on the Big Island.

South Kohala officers received reports about the scam. One victim reported receiving a telephone call from an unfamiliar phone number. Upon answering the call, a recorded message indicated that the victim’s Apple account had been hacked and suggested staying on the line for further assistance.

A male individual then initiated a conversation with the victim, indicated the victim’s Apple account had been hacked and requested the victim’s assistance with “catching” the hackers by purchasing gift cards, after which the cost would be immediately refunded back to the victim.

After purchasing an undisclosed amount of gift cards and providing the gift cards’ security codes to the male individual, the victim received several emails, purportedly from Apple Care, which indicated the victim had been refunded for the gift card purchases. The telephone call and the subsequent emails were deemed to be fraudulent.

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Police advise everyone first to verify telephone calls are legitimate, especially those calls in which recorded messages are played upon answering. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recommends hanging up on robocalls (automated phone calls that deliver a recorded message).

“If you answer the phone and hear a recorded sales pitch, hang up and report it to the FTC. These calls are illegal, and often, the products being offered are bogus,” police say. “Don’t press 1 to speak to a person or to be taken off the list as this could lead to more calls.”

Click here for tips on how to avoid fraud.

Scams, such as this one, can be reported to the Federal Trade Commission. Click here for additional information about recently reported scams.

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