Police, prosecutor warn of telephone scam 03-10-03

HAWAII COUNTY POLICE DEPARTMENT
OFFICE OF THE POLICE CHIEF
PHONE: 961-2244
MARCH 10, 2003

MEDIA RELEASE

The Hawaii County Police Department and Office of the Prosecuting Attorney are warning Big Island residents to be on guard against a telephone scam that could cost them hundreds of dollars.

The scam works this way: A victim will get a call by pager or voice mail informing him of an emergency in the family, such as a parent’s death or an injured child. The victim will be told to “return” the call to a number with a prefix of “809” — similar to a “900” call.

Once the victim calls, he will be put on hold or get a lengthy recording. When the victim receives his next phone bill, he will find he has been charged $25 per minute for a foreign call to the Dominican Republic.

The average cost of the call has been estimated at more than $100.

The same telephone scam has been used with “284” and “876” prefixes.

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