Reports of Financial Scams via Internet on the Increase 12-03-01

PHONE: 961-2252
DECEMBER 3, 2001


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 Derek Pacheco, 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 involve the “death” of a wealthy Nigerian. The writer informs the recipient that there is a problem getting millions in inheritance money out of the African country.

The writer then offers the recipient a portion of the “inheritance,” amounting to millions, if he or she will help transfer the funds out of the country.

All the writer asks for in return is the name and address of the recipient’s bank and his bank account number.

“These appeals for ‘help’ are simply an invitation to someone to wipe out your bank account,” Pacheco said.

“The best advice is never, ever reveal your bank account number to a stranger.”

He concluded: “If an offer sounds to 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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