Scam Calls Disguised as Police Phone Numbers
Phone scams are on the rise.
Big Island Police are warning island residents to be aware of a telephone ‘spoofing’ incident, in which scammers used a police station phone number to illicit money over the phone.
On Monday, Oct. 12, a telephone call was made to a female adult from an unidentified male claiming to be a Social Security officer. The unidentified male reported that her social security number was being used on the mainland and that the police would be calling her to investigate the matter.
Later that day, the female received a “spoof” call from the Hawaiʻi Police Department’s non-emergency number, (808) 935-3311. The caller identified herself as Nola Green (fictitious) and stated that she was an officer with the Hawaiʻi Police Department. “Green” advised her to purchase a “Safe Card” and to put her money onto the card.
‘Spoofing’ occurs when people make it appear as if their phone calls are coming from a different number. The call recipient sees the caller ID and believes the call to be from the true owner of the number when it isn’t.
Police ask the public to be aware of callers who ask for personal information over the telephone. As a general rule of thumb, if you cannot verify the caller’s identity or you do not know who they are, do not release any personal information to them. Take steps to verify the identity of the caller before purchasing a money card or sending money via money orders, wire, or checks.
Police recommend the following tips to ‘be a good witness’: Remember to note down information about the call, take notice of the caller (accent, gender, specific words used), verify the caller or number called from and when in doubt, call the police for clarification using the department’s non-emergency number at (808) 935-3311.