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Residents, police warn of phone scams

LIHUE — Lori MacDonald of Kapaa, said she is getting tired of receiving repeat scam calls from the Mainland’s West Coast.

MacDonald calls the scammers “telephone thieves” and although she hangs up immediately upon learning the source of the calls, the phone still keeps ringing day after day. The calls come from people in California, claiming to be an 800 service in San Francisco, San Diego, and Garden Grove.

When MacDonald did answer a call, she said the caller was difficult to understand. The female caller would say something along the line of being “qualified for a $5,000 loan.”

“Of course each one of them was saying that we were approved for a loan and I hung up,” MacDonald said. 

For most calls, MacDonald said she just lets the phone ring. In the future, she is planning her responses with direct questions to probe the purpose of the call, their location and identity, and to see if their goal is ultimately to obtain personal information or some agreement to a financial transaction.

MacDonald said she might have been more gullible at a younger age. Her concern is about warning others not to fall for the scams.

“This worries me a lot because I fear that other people may fall for this scam and give them personal information,” she added.

She’s not alone. The Kauai Police Department warned of other scams out there.

The latest has to do with an email sent out claiming to be a “Coca Cola Company” contest related to the FIFA 2014 World Cup event in Brazil. The email said the recipient had won $1 million in British currency and asked for an immediate contact which is when the scam to collect funds occurred.

KPD also reported a false property tax scam going around where callers threaten they’re owned money for unpaid taxes.

If you suspect a scam or suspicious activity, people are advised to call the Kauai Police Department at 241-1711.

Scam artists work hard to get your trust if only for a minute, according to many recent reports and alerts from The Federal Trade Commission’s Consumer Response Center. 

The most vulnerable to these types of loan offers are often the people who have been turned away from traditional loan applications because of a poor credit history, employment status or lack of income or assets.

 

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