Phishing phone scam spoofs local number on caller ID

There’s a new phishing scam making its way around Hawaii, and the Hawaii Better Business Bureau worries people may fall for it, simply because of what shows up on the caller ID.

Instead of a mainland or international number showing up, it appears to be a local one.

“What scares us the most about this is that local people see the 808 number and they think it might be someone that they know, so they pick up the phone,” said Greg Dunn, Hawaii Better Business Bureau CEO.

That’s when a recorded message says to press “1” in order to lower the interest rate on your credit cards. Once you do that, you’re transferred to a call center. If you don’t, you’re told your credit rates will increase.

Dunn says the callers aren’t asking for any money. Instead, they’re trying to collect as much personal information as they can about you.

“The more information they get from you, the more avenues they have to gain access to your bank accounts, drain the cash out of your bank account, whether it’s checking or savings,” Dunn explained. “They can set up new credit accounts in your name. They can sell that information on the dark web on the internet.”

Dunn worries this particular scam has a higher chance of being successful, simply because of what appears to be a local number on your caller ID.

“Some of them may look at it and say maybe it’s my auntie or maybe it’s my nephew’s new number, or I know someone there and I’m waiting for a call,” Dunn said.

The BBB says:

  • Don’t be fooled by what may seem like a local call from a local phone number.
  • Never give out any personal information over the phone, especially if you haven’t requested the service.
  • Don’t feel pressured by threats.
  • If you’ve already given out information, make sure you check with your bank and credit card companies to put a fraud alert on your accounts.

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

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