Big Island police issue warning after phone schemes

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Hawaii Island police are warning the public after a Keaau couple reported being the target of three telephone schemes within two weeks.

The first was a telephone call to their cell phone claiming they had won the Publisher’s Clearing House prize of several million dollars and that someone would arrive in a couple of hours to deliver it. The area code showed the call originated from Jamaica.

The second apparent scam was a call to the couple’s home phone from a blocked number by a woman with a foreign accent who began to ask questions about the recipient’s computer.

The third scam was a late-night phone call from an Arkansas area code with a “mechanical female voice” claiming the couple’s MasterCard had been blocked. The recipient hung up the phone and then researched the scam and learned that the next step is for the caller to ask for the recipient’s credit card number.

Police urge the public to be suspicious of requests for personal information over the telephone or by Internet and not to provide such information without independently verifying that the request is legitimate.

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