Be aware, scams are in the air

LIHUE — If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.

That’s part of Kauai Police Department Chief Darryl Perry’s advice when it comes to avoiding scams, and there are a few circulating around Kauai right now to watch out for.

One is a phone scam, with the person on the other end of the line requesting donations for the Honolulu Police Department.

Chris and Diana Hayden of Wailua Homesteads got the phone call on Tuesday, and Diana said her husband immediately thought something was fishy.

“It sounded like a recorder at first, but the person who called said he was calling on behalf of the Honolulu Police Department, soliciting charity,” Diana Hayden said. “My husband said it isn’t in our budget at this time.”

At first the person on the phone asked for a $50 donation. When Chris Hayden declined, the man reduced the request to $10.

“I think the person would have gotten a credit card number to pay for it and then they have the number,” Diana Hayden said.

Instead of giving out the digits, Chris hung up the phone and Diana started to do some digging.

“I called HPD and got a very nice officer who said absolutely, they don’t solicit for any kind of money, and none of the departments on any of the islands do that,” she said.

Perry said KPD doesn’t solicit for donations, either.

“You should hang up immediately if you receive a call of this nature,” he said.

KPD has also received reports of someone visiting homes on Kauai, posing as a fire prevention representative, and asking residents to enter their home to check on items such as smoke detectors.

According to the Kauai Fire Department Prevention Bureau, this is not proper protocol. They urge the public to be watchful and report anything suspicious to police.

“The Kauai Fire Department will not make prior phone contact or show up unannounced to someone’s home,” said KFD Chief Robert Westerman.

Police also recommend taking notice of key details, such as the type of car a suspect is driving, license plate number, and the suspect(s) appearance.

“Do not let anyone into your home that you don’t know or don’t have a scheduled appointment with,” Perry said. “If you see anything suspicious, try to remember as many details as possible because any information could be helpful in a follow-up investigation.”

Both scams seem to be targeting kupuna, ages 60 and older, though anyone can be the target of a scam.

Officials recommend being vigilant with the fire-prevention scam, and ask the public to remember that legitimate home inspections are always pre-scheduled through the county Agency on Elderly Affairs, officials always arrive in uniform with a county vehicle, and proper paperwork will accompany them.

For phone scams, KPD recommends not returning or answering calls from unknown numbers, and checking bank accounts and statements regularly.

If you suspect a scam, please call KPD dispatch at 241-1711 and file an official police report.

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