HONOLULU (KHON2) — The saying, don’t believe everything that’s seen on the internet couldn’t be more true for Ka Makana Alii. The mall posted a warning on social media about an imposter creating fake pages and messaging its followers for personal information.

“We see a lot more of these scams like reverse engineering with social media, emails, spam calls and texts,” said Tim Caminos, CEO of CEWI Technologies.

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Experts said businesses and their loyal customers are often easy targets.

“Us being trusting people as we are, we sometimes tend to not really think and we’re excited in the moment and we give away that information,” Caminos said.

According to the FBI’s 2021 cybercrime report, Hawaii residents lost over $478,000 to social media schemes. Unfortunately, that trend is continuing.

The Better Business Bureau added Hawaii residents have already lost $43,000 to con artists this year.

This comes as the White House is urging private companies to beef up cyber defenses as tensions overseas continue, citing the potential for cyber attacks. It’s something the state department of the Office of Consumer Protection is monitoring.

“We’re obviously very concerned that there could be malware that will be put on businesses here in Hawaii and all across the country,” said Stephen Levins, Executive Director of the Office of Consumer Protection.

Last year, Foodland suffered a cyber security incident, and Hawaiian Electric experienced daily attacks by hackers. City agencies like the Board of Water Supply and Emergency Medical Services were also targeted.

“Some of these criminals will take the information and sell it on the dark web, but a lot of times all they want to do is extort the business for money,” Levins said.

Levins said it takes everyone to follow best practices to help protect companies and agencies as a whole.

“Employees should be very careful that they’re not messing around with any kind of pirated software or going to websites that offer free books or free movies. This is another classic ploy by bad guys,” said Levins.

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