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State warns of recurring sheriff impersonator scam

The Maui News

The state Department of Public Safety is warning of a recurring scam in which callers impersonate sheriffs and try to extort money.

In recent days, several people have called the Sheriff Division to report that someone contacted them via cellphone claiming to be a deputy sheriff, the department said in a news release Thursday. In many of these cases, the sheriff impersonator typically states that the individual owed money for outstanding warrants, traffic citations and/or missed jury duty. The scammer usually instructs the victim to send money electronically. In some of these cases, the victims paid money to these scammers using cryptocurrency.

Actual sheriffs do not call, text or email people asking for personal information or to solicit payment electronically by phone, the department said. Hawaii residents are also advised not to provide credit card numbers, bank account information or other personal information to callers claiming to represent a law enforcement agency.

Tips to protect against scams include:

• Do not communicate with unsolicited email or phone text senders.

• Do not open emails, attachments or links sent by text from unknown individuals.

• Never provide personal information of any sort via phone, text or email. Be aware that many emails requesting personal information appear to be legitimate.

Anyone who receives a call, text or email matching this scam should alert the Sheriff Division by calling (808) 586-1352.

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