Maui police warn public of gift card, wire transfer scams

Local News

HONOLULU (KHON2) — Police on Maui are warning the public to be on the lookout for emails, phone calls or texts from someone who claims to represent a government entity or business that solicits gift card purchases or requests money through a wire transfer.

Police say legitimate organizations do not seek payment through gift cards or cash.

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The most recent ongoing scam is “spoof callers claiming to be a representative of a federal law enforcement agency or local government, including the Maui County Department of the Prosecuting Attorney,” according to the Maui Police Department (MPD).

MPD says the spoof caller informs call recipients of some legal sanction or arrest warrant that is pending against them. The caller spoofs real phone numbers of official agencies such as police, sheriff, federal law enforcement, prosecuting attorneys and more to trick the call recipient into thinking the information is authentic.

Officials provided the following tips to keep in mind:

  • Do not provide any information to the caller.
  • Do not ask them to verify their agency or identity since they will often provide official-sounding names, titles, and badge ID numbers.
  • Do not contact the email/number listed/being given. Contact the organization directly via the official website of said organization.
  • If you received a call/message from an individual claiming to be with a federal agency but did not answer/return the call, please report the incident to the FBI at www.ic3.gov.
  • If you answered the call and gave personal information or sent money/gift cards, please report the incident to the FBI; and the Maui Police Department at 808-244-6400.

MPD says that the scam calls are designed to obtain personal identification information that can be used for identity theft, fraud or a combination of both. Officials say that law enforcement personnel and government agencies never try to “clear up” warrants or other legal proceedings — and never request financial information — over the phone.

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