Don’t become a victim; free event to inform public of scams, cyber threats, identity theft


It seemed like an innocent enough text when a Honolulu man found out he had been approved for a personal loan.

As Greg Dunn, Better Business Bureau Hawaii CEO, explains, the scammers tell their victim: “What we’re going to have you do is go on and get an iTunes gift card, and you are going to buy the gift card for $150, give us the number, and then give us the pin number. We’re going to use that to get your application started.”

There are some red flags to lookout for when you’ve been told you’ve qualified for a loan.

First, Dunn says, “lenders in Hawaii, or even nationally, are not going to telemarket you to get you to take out a loan at that moment without checking your credit.”

Second, beware if fees are not disclosed clearly or promptly. A third red flag is a loan offered over the phone.

To put an end to scams like this one, the Better Business Bureau is teaming up with AARP and local authorities for the AARP Scam Jam.

The event takes place Thursday, April 27, at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii’s Manoa Grand Ballroom, from 9:30-11:30 a.m.

Special agent Edward Arias, FBI Honolulu Division Cyber Squad, will be the featured speaker.

“What we’re trying to do is help people understand how to prevent identity theft, and also how to avoid things like ransomware, how to avoid being taken advantage of online,” Dunn explained.

The event is free, but registration is required. You can get more information and sign up online here, or call (toll-free) 1-877-926-8300.

If you have a consumer concern or are interested in becoming an Action Line volunteer, give us a call at 591-0222 weekdays between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. or send an email to actionline@khon2.com.

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