HONOLULU (KHON2) — Big Island police are warning the public of a “sophisticated” phone scam happening across the island where scammers call victims and falsely claim that they are a local, state or federal official.
According to police, the scammer would go to great lengths to convince victims that they are being investigated by the Social Security Administration, their social security number will be canceled and financial accounts will be locked.
Scammers would tell victims to withdraw cash and buy a “social security lock card” — which does not exist. If not, victims are told to purchase gift cards instead and send the card numbers.
“This poor woman came to the front desk; she had approximately 10 different gift cards in her hands. She was just distraught. She was on the phone currently with somebody from the Social Security Administration,” Big Island Officer Adam Hanes said. “Then, next thing you know, I identify myself as a police officer, they hung up. Even though it’s fake, it sounds authentic and it’s easy to fall victim to a scam if they present enough information to you.”
Police said if anyone receives a phone call similar to this “sophisticated” phone scam, then they should not give out any personal information and hang up. People are also urged to report the incident to the police.