HPD Warns of Uptick in Phone Phishing Scams

July 15, 2020, 5:00 PM HST (Updated July 15, 2020, 4:20 PM)
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Phone phishing scams are on the rise, according to the Hawai‘i Police Department.

These scams come in various forms but in all of them, people receive unsolicited calls that ask for confidential personal information or money. These scammers most often target kupuna, or the elderly.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, these are the ways to recognize a phone scam:

There is no prize

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The caller might say you were “selected” for an offer or that you’ve won a lottery. But if you have to pay to get the prize, it’s not a prize.

You won’t be arrested

Scammers might pretend to be law enforcement or a federal agency. They might say you’ll be arrested, fined, or deported if you don’t pay taxes or some other debt right away. The goal is to scare you into paying. But real law enforcement and federal agencies won’t call and threaten you.

You don’t need to decide now

Most legitimate businesses will give you time to think over their offer and get written information about it before asking you to commit. Take your time. Don’t get pressured into making a decision on the spot.

There’s never a good reason to send cash or pay with a gift card

Scammers will often ask you to pay in a way that makes it hard for you to get your money back — by wiring money, putting money on a gift card, prepaid card or cash reload card, or using a money transfer app. Anyone who asks you to pay that way is a scammer.

Government agencies aren’t calling to confirm your sensitive information

It’s never a good idea to give out sensitive information like your Social Security number to someone who calls you unexpectedly, even if they say they’re with the Social Security Administration or IRS.
The first advice given by the Federal Trade Commission on how to avoid being scammed is to hang up, even if it’s not a scammer calling. If a company is calling you illegally, it’s not a company you want to do business with. When you get a robocall, don’t press any numbers. Instead of letting you speak to a live operator or remove you from their call list, it might lead to more robocalls.

Caregivers are also reminded to be on the lookout for these scammers. For more information visit the Federal Trade Commission website.

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