Police warn of financial scams 05-19-04

PHONE: 961-2251
MAY 19, 2004


Police report Big Island residents continue to be targeted for financial scams. The latest scams involve two of the more frequently used points of attack namely e-mail and the so-called winning lottery mail notification.

In the e-mail scam, a bank purporting itself to be Citibank-Online, sends an e-mail notification of a need to verify the recipient’s e-mail address. It further asks the recipient for the recipient’s debit card number and Card PIN (Personal Identification Number). The e-mail goes on to state this is done for the recipient’s protection because some of their members no longer have access to their e-mail addresses and the “Bamk” needs to verify it.

In the “Lottery” scam, from Spain, a mailed notification was sent to a Big Island resident informing her of having won in excess of $600,000 in the lottery. The “winner” was informed to fill out a form which requests personal information to include bank account numbers. The “winner” was also informed not to “publicize” the win as it might create “confusion.” In this case, the Big Island resident was acutely aware of this being an attempted scam and came forward to forewarn other Big Island residents.

The Hawaii Police Department is again reminding residents to be alert and never give strangers their personal financial information, such as social security number, checking account number or savings account number.

“Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is,” said Captain Samuel Thomas, head of the East Hawaii Criminal Investigation Division.

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