REPORT FROM KAUAI POLICE – A con artist unknowingly attempted to scam Kaua’i Police Chief Darryl Perry during a phone call that took place earlier this month, and now the department has posted the recorded conversation on its website to warn the public of these types of scams.
“We wanted the public to get a true understanding of how con artists operate so they can identify when they’re being conned,” stated Chief Perry. “While this scammer’s promises are so outrageous at times it can seem comical, the fact is there are a lot of people who willingly give their personal information and hard-earned money to strangers. And once that happens, almost nothing can be done to get it back.”
The Kauai Police Department urges the public to be especially cautious during the holidays. Scams are more apparent at this time of year because the temptation of “free money” can be more inviting to potential victims.
Fraud schemes occur in various forms but all are aimed at taking money from unsuspecting victims. This particular scam promises the victim a large payout, but only after he or she wire transfers money to the caller, supposedly to cover taxes or processing fees. But once the victim makes that initial payment, the con artist is never heard from again.
Some scam artists use simple requests via letter, 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 mention government entities. There are currently several e-mail scams circulating that claim to involve the Internal Revenue Service (I.R.S.), foreign embassies, banks or 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 are later used to extort or otherwise terrorize the victim into providing cash.
Hackers can even log into a person’s email account and send emails on behalf of the account owner requesting money to assist with a sudden hardship. If you receive an email from a friend that seems suspicious, contact the person directly and verify the situation before you act.
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.
“The bottom line is if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is,” added Chief Perry. “Never give out your personal information or send money to someone you don’t know.”
To hear Chief Perry’s conversation with the con artist who contacted him, visit www.kauai.gov/police.
If you suspect a scam, please call the Kaua’i Police Department at 241-1711.