Action Line: Checking on those who offer quick, easy money

(AP Graphic)

Hawaii is known as the “aloha state,” but our local attitude of help and love is sometimes taken advantage of by scammers.

There are some simple steps, though, that you can use to check if any person or business is legitimate.

Honolulu police officers are always on the lookout for scheming criminals trying to get your money with promises of quick and easy financial returns.

“It’s our natural tendency,” said police lieutenant John McCarthy. “We want to wake up and be rich, and a lot of these people have good hope and really good intentions.” People hear an offer and want to help family members with debt or school tuition, or give back to the community.

“Just this week, we have a member of a religious order who got a call and was asked to get several thousand dollars of Green Dot cards, that she had won millions, and she thought she was going to save the church from collapse,” McCarthy said. “These people have really good intentions and just get taken advantage of.”

So when you get a phone call or email asking for your information or money, experts say there are just a few steps you need to do to check any person or business out.

Call Honolulu Police or the Hawaii Better Business Bureau. They have a list of ongoing schemes, and even the fake names and area codes they use.

“Sometimes they use different area codes like 702 in Las Vegas, or 202 in Washington, D.C., but these phones are magicJacks, they can be used anywhere in the world.”

For more information, check out Action Line section on our website.

You can also email your consumer concerns to actionline@khon2.com or call 591-0222 weekdays from 11 a.m.-1 p.m.

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