KPD warns public of spike in scams

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KPD warns public of spike in scams

LĪHU‘E – In light of recent scam alerts, the Kaua‘i Police Department is offering the public tips on how to avoid becoming a victim.

“It seems that scams, especially phone scams, are increasing on Kaua‘i lately, and so we’d like to take this opportunity to remind the public on how to protect themselves,” stated Investigative Services Bureau Assistant Chief Bryson Ponce. “Citizens must be proactive because once someone has taken your money, it is unlikely you will get it back.”

According to police, a recently reported phone scam involves an automated voice that claims serious allegations are being made against an individual. The voice then explains that unless that individual calls back, he or she will be taken into custody by local law enforcement. This particular call is a scam.

Some of the more prevalent ongoing scams involve claims that an individual has won a sweepstakes, or has a loved one who is in financial distress. It is also typical for scammers to impersonate a government agency, such as the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), particularly during the tax season.

Other scams claim to be from reputable local businesses, such as banks and utility companies, threatening to cut off services unless a payment is made immediately. Generally, these scammers request payment over the phone or via wire transfers.

“Never send money or release your personal or financial information to an unknown individual,” urged Assistant Chief Ponce. “If you are unsure that you are being contacted by a reputable business, hang up and call that company back at its publicly-listed phone number.”

In addition, KPD offers these prevention tips:

·         Do not answer or return calls from unknown numbers.

·         Use caution when responding to unsolicited calls or e-mails, or unknown individuals on social networking sites.

·         Check your bank, credit card and phone statements regularly. If you see an unknown or unauthorized charge, immediately notify your bank or service provider.

·         If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.

·         Senior citizens are popular targets for scam artists as they tend to be more trusting of unknown individuals. Responsible family members should help to keep them safe.

If you suspect a scam, please call the Kaua‘i Police Department at 241-1711 and file an official police report.