‘Caught, but not 100 percent’

LIHUE — Kashi “Soupie” Wabara nearly lost $2,000 in a scam.

Instead, he ended up with four $500 iTunes cards to give to his children and grandchildren as gifts.

Pretty good recovery.

“They’re going to be lucky,” he said, smiling.

The Lihue man was recently fooled, temporarily, when he received a call from someone claiming to be his grandson.

“Grandpa, this is Royden,” the caller said.

The two chatted for a minute.

“By the way, how is grandma?” the caller asked, so Wabara gave his wife the phone, who also thought it was their grandson, who lives in California.

When Soupie took the phone back, he said to his grandson, “By the way, Royden, your voice sounds a little funny.”

“I’m in Vegas. I’ve got a bad cold,” the caller answered.

“Can I talk to you without grandma in the area?” he asked.

“What’s up,” Wabara asked.

The caller said he had been in an accident and needed $2,000 to pay an attorney to bail him out of jail.

Wabara asked how he could get him the money, so the caller said he was handing the phone to his attorney, who explained he needed Wabara to buy iTunes cards, and then call him back once he had them.

“Please grandpa, don’t tell anyone,” the caller said. “I don’t want nobody to know what’s going on. I’m telling you I’m stuck because I need the money.”

When Wabara was at a store, the clerk asked why he was buying four $500 cards.

“There’s a scam with these things going on, you know,” the clerk said.

Wabara, because he believed his grandson was in trouble, went ahead with the purchase.

“I should have listened but I was more interested in taking care of my grandson,” he said.

Back home, Wabara called his grandson — his real grandson. When he answered, Wabara said, “Royden, your voice sounds like you. I thought you were sick.”

No, his grandson answered.

“You’re not in Vegas? Wabara asked.

“No, I’m in Texas.”

“Texas? Are you sure you didn’t get into an accident,” Wabara asked.

“No, I’m here in Texas working.”

Wabara heard all he needed to know. He was being scammed.

Five minutes later, the phone rang in his home. It was the fake attorney.

“Do you have the card? On the back of card, peel it, there is a card number. I want that number,” he said.

“Where’s my grandson?” Wabara asked.

The fake attorney insisted he was busy in and out of court and had to have the card number right then.

Wabara refused until he spoke to his grandson again. A few minutes later, his phone rang.

“Yes grandpa, it’s Royden.”

Wabara fired back: “I’m going to call the cops on you.”

The caller hung up.

While Wabara avoided losing $2,000, he ended up with the four $500 iTunes cards and later learned he couldn’t return them.

“I lost in a way, but I still have the cards,” he said. “It’s better than giving them to one guy I don’t know.”

While Wabara has no use for iTunes cards, he and his wife have a small army of children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and they do.

One card already went to a granddaughter, and one to a daughter.

“She’s going to be happy,” he said.

He feels a bit sheepish at being tricked, but he wanted to share his story with The Garden Island as a warning to others to be wary of such calls.

“I got caught, but not 100 percent,” he said, then added, “Next time, I know.”

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