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E-mail scam 12-22-09

Hawai’i Police Department
Hāmākua District
Officer Roylen Valera
Phone: 775-7533
December 22, 2009
Report No. C090

Media Release

The Hawai’i Police Department is warning the public about an e-mail and identity theft scam.

A Hāmākua man received a frantic request through e-mail on Tuesday from what he believed to be an authentic e-mail address of a family friend. The friend said that she was in London, England, where her bags had been stolen containing her passport and wallet, leaving her broke and helpless. She requested that the man send her $700 through Western Union.

Thinking that this sounded suspicious, the man e-mailed her a question that he believed only his friend could answer. The suspect replied and gave the correct answer, so the Hāmākua man sent the money.

It is unknown how the suspect in England gained access to the e-mail account and the woman’s contact list and past e-mail history so that he or she could provide the correct answer to the question.

Police ask that the public exercise caution when replying to suspicious e-mails, and that they check with the requestor or family prior to sending money.

Anyone with questions or information about the scam may call Officer Roylen Valera at the Hāmākua Police Station in Honoka’a at 775-7533.