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If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
That’s the message a Honolulu man has for others after losing more than $1,000 in a recent loan scheme.
“Ultimately, what I want is for people in Hawaii to be aware of the situation,” Downtown Honolulu resident Kevin Fajardo said.
Fajardo, 28, says he’s not a gullible guy, but admits he was duped when he got a call from a woman claiming to be from a financial agency in California, saying he had been pre-approved for a loan.
He thought everything was legitimate because the caller had his bank account numbers and Social Security number.
“She offered me this amount of money, but in order to make the loan transaction they needed me to verify income through this thing called a MoneyPak,” Fajardo said.
She gave him instructions on how to load and send the prepaid MoneyPak card.
“From there, they will complete the transaction and give me the money,” Fajardo said.
But it didn’t end there. Fajardo was told he owed backed taxes and the alleged lender needed him to pay up.
“That worries me. I didn’t want to be in trouble with the IRS, so I said if they are going to reimburse me and they give me their word, then I will do it. And from there they just kept asking for more money,” Fajardo said.
The money never came. Fajardo was out more than $1,000 and the woman kept calling.
“If you are ever contacted and asked to send money via a third-party payment service, expect that you more than likely won’t ever see that money again,” Hawaii Better Business Bureau President and CEO Gregory Dunn said.
The Hawaii BBB says this type of scheme ranks as the second most common in the state and crooks continue to find new ways to swindle people.
“Hundreds of thousands of dollars,” Dunn said.
The caller, in this case, said she got the victim’s account information from the BBB — something the bureau says is not possible.
“Reputable lending institutions or any of the banks in the state of Hawaii will not give you your account number over the phone. They won’t give you your Social Security number over the phone and more than likely, they won’t call you to initiate contact to get you to send them money,” Dunn said.
The BBB says to check their website before sending money to an unknown organization.