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Police warn Maui residents about recent scams

The Maui News

Maui Police are warning people about recent scam solicitations from callers claiming to represent a federal law enforcement agency or local government department, including the Maui County prosecutor’s office.

Callers tell recipients there’s a warrant or other legal sanction pending against them, in an effort to obtain personal identification information, police said. The information is used to perpetrate identity theft or to gain financial information to commit fraud and theft, or a combination of both, according to police.

Police said no law enforcement or other government agency will attempt to “clear up” warrants or other legal sanctions over the phone, nor will they ever request your financial information to do so over the phone.

The calls spoof real phone numbers of government agencies such as police, sheriff’s departments and federal law enforcement agencies to trick call recipients into believing the calls are authentic, police said in a news release.

Callers also have asked for purchases of gift cards or requested money by wire transfer, police said.

“Please be wary of these scams,” the news release said. “A legitimate organization would not seek payment for a service or penalty fee with a gift card or cash.”

Tips from police include:

• Do not provide any information to callers.

• Do not ask callers to verify their agency or identity because they will often provide official-sounding names, titles, and badge ID numbers.

• Do not contact the email or phone number listed or being given. Contact the organization directly through its official website.

• If you have received a call or message from someone claiming to be with a federal agency and did not answer or return the call, report it to the FBI at www.ic3.gov.

• If you answered the call and gave personal information or sent money or gift cards, report the incident to the FBI and the Maui Police Department at 244-6400.

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