Alert: Beware of deputy sheriff impersonators and extortion scams

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The Hawaiʻi State Department of Public Safety is warning people to beware of deputy sheriff impersonators and extortion scams.

In recent weeks, several people have come to the Sheriff Division Booking and Receiving Station at Keawe Street in Honolulu to turn themselves in at the instruction of scammers.

The scammers, claiming to be deputy sheriffs, are instructing people to either purchase visa gift cards and relay the card numbers over the phone, or to send money through a cash app to pay for outstanding warrants, traffic citations and/or fines for missed jury duty.

The scammer then instructs the person to turn himself or herself in at the actual real Sheriff Division Booking and Receiving Station.

The public is reminded that sheriffs do not call, text or email people asking for personal information or to solicit payment electronically or by phone. Hawaiʻi residents are also advised not to provide credit card numbers, bank account information or other personal information to callers claiming to represent a law enforcement agency.

“Innocent people are being targeted,” said State Sheriff William Oku Jr. “In at least two of the cases, people have made payments to these scammers in the sum of several hundred and even thousands of dollars.”

The state Sheriff Division is initiating criminal cases for each scam incident and requesting that anyone who has a similar encounter to report it.


If you receive a call, text or email matching this scam please alert the Sheriff Division by calling 808-586-1352.

Tips to protect yourself:

  • Do not communicate with unsolicited e-mail or phone text senders.
  • Do not open e-mails, attachments or links sent by text from unknown individuals.
  • Never provide personal information of any sort via phone, text or e-mail. Be aware that many e-mails requesting your personal information appear to be legitimate.


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