REPORT FROM KAUAI COUNTY–The Kaua’i Police Department is issuing an alert regarding ongoing internet scams that continue to victimize Kaua’i residents.

The fraud schemes occur in various forms but are all aimed at taking money from unsuspecting victims.  Some scam artists use simple requests via e-mail or popular social networking sites, while others develop a more in-depth, online relationship with a victim over a period of time.

It is common for e-mail scams to include official seals or emblems of government entities.  There are currently several e-mail scams circulating that claim to involve the Federal Bureau of Investigation (F.B.I.), the Internal Revenue Service (I.R.S.) as well as local police departments.

Scammers are also known for using popular social networking sites, such as Facebook, MySpace or Twitter.  Initially, the scammer may pose as a friend and entice victims into sending explicit photos or information which is later used to extort or otherwise terrorize the victim into providing cash.

“In the vast majority of these crimes, the suspect is located miles away, outside the jurisdiction of local and federal law enforcement,” says Assistant Chief Roy Asher of the Investigative Services Bureau. “You should be especially guarded with people claiming to be a government official or foreigner.  And to be safe, never send money to someone you don’t know personally.”

In addition, the Kauai Police Department advises residents to use caution and reason when responding to e-mails or unknown individuals on social networking sites.

Children and senior citizens are popular targets for scam artists as they tend to be more trusting of unknown individuals.  Responsible family members should keep a careful watch of their online activity.

If you suspect a scam, please call the Kaua’i Police Department at 241-1711.

For more information on common internet crimes, visit the Hawaii Internet & Technology Crimes Unit website at http://hawaii.gov/ag/hitec, the Hawaii Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force at http://hawaii.gov/ag/hicac, or the FBI’s website at http://www.fbi.gov/scams-safety/fraud/internet_fraud.

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