HONOLULU (KHON2) — Imagine getting a phone call from a company saying they owe you a refund. That’s what happened to an Oahu kupuna.
“However there was a fraudster claiming to be with MacAfee,” said Bunny Tanaka from Hawaii State Federal Credit Union.
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That’s the internet security company. The fraudulent caller said they wanted access to the kupuna’s computer.
“So what happens, is this fraudster ended up getting kupuna on a computer and from $500 refund, it amounted to a $50,000 loss,” explained Tanaka.
Tanaka said the customer lost $50,000 and that “it can happen in a matter of seconds.”
June is Elder Abuse Awareness Month. That’s why Hawaii State FCU wants to warn others about this growing problem.
“Financial schemes are out there targeting seniors,” said Tanaka.
One type of scam is calling phishing, which is when bait in the form of a link or phone call is thrown to claim a victim.
“We have fraudsters out there that are trying to create elaborate websites, emails or advertisements, telling these kupuna or seniors to click on it, and it’ll allow the fraudster to gain complete access of bank account and personal and financial information,” said Tanaka.
Other scams, attempt to tug at the heartstrings.
“And that’s when people are claiming to be a relative or loved one to a grandparent and call them and tell them there’s a medical or travel emergency and request to have funds wire transferred into an unfamiliar bank account,” Tanaka further explained.
Another highly used scheme is called the manipulation of financial arrangement, when a friend or family member of a kupuna, takes advantage of them.
“And this could even involve going on errands for them and keeping leftover money or pressuring them to give them power of attorney,” stated Tanaka.
Officials remind people not to share personal information or give people control of their computers or phone — and don’t respond to an unknown caller.
“Don’t do it, you don’t have to rush into anything,” said Tanaka.
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And if you or someone you know becomes a victim, report it to the police.