New email scheme claims to be from Attorney General’s office

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The Dept. of the Attorney General’s Investigations Division has opened a criminal investigation into an email fraud scheme involving false representations about compensation by the government of Ghana.

While the scheme itself isn’t new, criminals are now falsely claiming that Attorney General Louie has verified the authenticity of their claims, the office said.

The criminals say that the President of Ghana or various officials of the Ghana government have $1.8 million to be paid to the victim. To make their scam appear more legitimate, the criminals represent themselves as the Attorney General of the State of Hawaii and claim that the Attorney General has verified that the money is ready to transfer to the victim.

Attorney General Louie has no connection whatsoever with any scheme or promise to transfer money from a foreign government, the office said, and the email addresses used in the scheme, davidlouie@lawyer.com and attoneygeneraloffice@lawyer.com [sic], are not affiliated with the office.

What actually takes place is that the criminals require the victims to pay fees for various to prepare the money for transfer, according to authorities. This culminates in the victims being asked to provide their bank information for the transfer. When the victim fails to receive the payment of $1.8 million they are frequently reluctant to believe they have been defrauded and continue to send money to the criminals in the hope that they will eventually receive money, the office said.

The Attorney General’s office offers the following tips to avoid being a victim of cyber crime:

  • Do not respond to unsolicited email;
  • Do not click on links contained within an unsolicited email;
  • Only log on to official websites of businesses;
  • Contact the business by phone or in person;
  • Never send money, bank account numbers, birthdates, social security numbers, drivers’ license numbers, or any other private financial information to anyone or any business that you do not know.

“The elderly tend to be more trusting and more vulnerable to these scams. Friends and family members can help to protect our kupuna by helping them to be aware of these scams and being alert to money transfers made by them,” said Attorney General Louie.

Anyone who suspects that they or a vulnerable family member have been the victim of an email scam is encouraged to contact the Department of the Attorney General’s Investigations Division at (808) 586-1240 or email hawaiiag@hawaii.gov.

For more information, visit the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) E-Scams & Warnings webpage.

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