Police warn of scam 12-19-05

PHONE: 961-2252
DECEMBER 19, 2005


Big Island police are warning residents to be wary of financial scams, particularly via the Internet.

Police say that the number of scams usually increases during the Christmas and New Year holiday season, and this year is no exception.

Lieutenant Randall Medeiros, head of the Hilo Criminal Investigation Section, noted that there has been an increase in the number of reported e-mail scams originating from Nigeria.

The scams usually involves the author of the email message asking the recipient to cash several traveler’s checks or money orders which will be sent via mail and upon cashing the checks or money orders, the recipient will be able to keep 10% for “his or her trouble”.

The writer then requests that the recipient wire the money to a pre determined address, which has been in Canada or Nigeria.

The recipient is eventually notified by their bank that the traveler’s checks or money orders cashed were either counterfeit or reported stolen. At this point, the recipient’s bank seeks reimbursement to cover the fraudulent transaction, usually by the means of taking the funds from the recipient’s account.

Lieutenant Medeiros recommended that if you receive such a solicitation, may it be through email or the postal service, contact your nearest police station. He added that “if someone solicits you to conduct a financial transaction with the promise of keeping a portion of the money as payment, this should raise a red flag”.

He concluded: “If an offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”

He advised anyone losing money in such a scam to call the U.S. Secret Service in Honolulu at (808) 541-1912.

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