Police warn of telephone scam 12-15-04

HAWAII COUNTY POLICE DEPARTMENT
WEST HAWAII CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION SECTION
DETECTIVE ZACK HOUCHIN
PHONE: 326-4646, EXT. 262
DECEMBER 15, 2004

MEDIA RELEASE

Big Island police are cautioning residents to be wary of scams by telephone, mail and e-mail after a Kona resident was bilked out of $58,030 in a telephone scheme from Canada.

West Hawaii Criminal Investigation Section detectives learned that the victim was told she had won $1 million. Before collecting her “prize,” however, the victim was told she would have to send money to pay taxes and other costs.

Canadian police said the telephone scam was being run out of Vancouver and Quebec.

“We want to warn residents to be especially alert at this time of the year,” said Detective Zack Houchin of the Criminal Investigation Section.

“The number of scams tends to increase during the holiday season, and unscrupulous operators focus especially on elderly people because they tend to be more trusting.

“The public should be wary of any claims offering large amounts of money in return for a smaller amount of cash. Legitimate lotteries and drawings do not require that the winner send them any money.

“Remember, if an offer sounds too good to be true, it is more than likely a scam.”

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