June 17, 2021, 8:46 a.m. HST
* Updated June 17 at 8:47 a.m.
The Maui Police Department’s Criminal Investigation Division is reminding the public to be aware of recent phone scams.
Scams involve people receiving a phone call on their cell or home phone from an unfamiliar number. The caller will say that a family member was involved in an accident, was or is about to be arrested, or that you owe money and must pay it immediately. In some cases, the caller will not identify themselves and tell you where they are calling from. The caller can give the name of a loved one and in some cases cannot. They will pose as a law enforcement officer, paramedic, or IRS. They will ask for money to be sent.
What should you do
- Do not communicate any personal information; hang up right away
- Do not send money to anyone and do not agree to meet with anyone to hand over money
- Pay attention to the caller ID number, if you don’t recognize it, don’t answer
- Remember that a law enforcement officer will identify himself with his name, rank and immediate recall information. If in doubt, hang up and simply contact the agency from which the person said they were calling. A legitimate officer will have no problem with this.
Common scam themes:
- Free vacations and prices
- Phishing scams (requesting access to your computer for “repairs”, updates, etc.)
- Loan scams
- Fake debt collectors
- Fake charities
- Medical alert / scams targeting seniors
- Arrest warrants or threats (law enforcement never demand money over the phone or agree to negotiate payment instead of arrest)
- IRS Calls – The IRS never calls anyone without sending a formal letter first, and the IRS never requires immediate payment over the phone
Don’t forget the “hooks” which are a sure sign of a scam:
- They contact you to ask for money, offer you a price or an easy loan
- They swing bait in front of you
- First YOU have to pay them. It is illegal for someone to demand money upfront for a loan, prize, or reward of any kind.
- You are asked to wire or send money by air instead of sending it to a verified official address.
MPD encourages the public to keep these measures in mind to ensure your safety and that of your family and to avoid falling victim to this type of crime.