HONOLULU (KHON2) — A 76-year-old Oahu man thought he won the lottery, but he actually did not. Instead, he got conned out of $64,000.

For this edition of Kupuna Life, KHON2 reports on this and other scams kupuna should be aware of.

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Winning the lottery is something many people dream of, and when a 76-year-old Oahu man was told he won, he believed it. However, he also believed that he had to pay taxes on his winnings before getting it.

“And so he was instructed to go to all the Walmarts and Walgreens on the island and max out in gift cards and prepaid visa cards, and he used all his legit credit cards and maxed it out to the total of $64,000. Then on Sunday night, he called back the scam artists and read the numbers on the back of the gift cards and that money was gone,” explained Scott Spallina, the Supervising Deputy Prosecuting Attorney for the Elder Abuse Unit.

In one weekend, $64,000 vanished, and unfortunately, this is not the first time something like this has happened.

“A lot of people are still believing that they won the lottery, and in order to collect the money, they have to pay an advanced fee, they have to pay a tax beforehand,” said Spallina.

Spallina wants to remind everyone that taxes do not work that way — people should first get their money, then they pay the taxes. He also added that this lottery scam is just one way kupuna are getting tricked. Another way is through text messages.

“Now text messages with mystery links and you click on the links and you’re downloading things onto your phone that will track your banking activity, what you will do, where you will go. So, if you get texts from somebody not in your contact list, delete it without even opening it.”

Scott Spallina, the Supervising Deputy Prosecuting Attorney for the Elder Abuse Unit

With the 2022 tax season starting soon, Spallina also warned of another scam that kupuna may fall for where they receive phone calls from the IRS detailing false information.

“You’re going to get the IRS calls saying that they’re filing suit against you, there’s a bench warrant against you, you’re going to be arrested, so you have to pay money in order for the IRS not to harass you anymore,” Spallina explained.

If anyone receives a phone call claiming to be the IRS: do not pay and just hang up.

Back to the case regarding the 76-year-old man who spent $64,000 thinking he won the lottery, Spallina said the police are still investigating the incident; however, they do not know where the money went.

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If you or a family member is ever in doubt or has become the victim of a scam, report it to local authorities as soon as possible.