February 12, 2022, 4:14 p.m. HST
* Updated February 12, 4:26 p.m.
The Maui Police Department would like to warn the public to be alert to emails, phone calls, or text messages from people claiming to represent a business or government entity that solicits gift card purchases or requests money via wire transfer. bank/app.
“Please beware of these scams. A legitimate organization would not request payment of a service fee or penalty with a gift card or cash,” Maui police said in a department news release.
The most recent reported ongoing scam is of fake callers pretending to be a representative of the Maui Police Department. The caller notifies the recipients of the call that a warrant or other legal sanction is pending against them.
“These calls deliberately spoof real phone numbers from government agencies, such as the Maui Police Department, to deceive the call recipient into believing the calls are genuine. Callers will engage in these types of ‘fraudulent calls as a means to obtain personally identifiable information to commit identity theft or to obtain financial information to commit fraud and theft, or a combination of the two,’” police said.
Police say no law enforcement or other government agency will attempt to “clear” warrants or other legal penalties over the phone, and will never ask for your financial information to do so over the phone.
Maui police have provided the following tips to keep in mind:
- Do not provide any information to the caller.
- Don’t ask them to verify their agency or identity, as they will often provide official-sounding names, titles, and ID numbers.
- Do not contact the email address/number provided. Contact the organization directly through the official website of said organization.
- If you received a call/message from someone claiming to be from a federal agency but did not answer/call back, please report the incident to the FBI at www.ic3.gov.
- If you answered the call and provided personal information or sent money/gift cards, please report the incident to the FBI and the Maui Police Department at 808-244-6400.