Beware scammers claiming to work for Hawaii Electric Light Co.

A heads up for Hawaii island residents. Scammers are trying to use Hawaii Electric Light Company as a cover.

It’s a big scam being pushed upon people on Hawaii island. Scammers are posing as utility employees and threatening residents.

“(They say) you either need to buy an iTunes gift card or do a money transfer, or we are going to shut the power off right now while you’re on the phone,” explained Greg Dunn, CEO, Better Business Bureau Hawaii.

They can also threaten you into sharing personal information.

“It’s a very crafty scam, because they are catching people,” Dunn said. “Say you’re a restaurant owner and it’s right at lunch time, the busiest time of the day, or a retailer and it’s the middle of the afternoon and a tour bus just dropped a bunch of people off. You are busy. You’re hurried. You’re really not thinking straight. So what is the first thing you want to do? You want to get it cleaned up. Get rid of the problem, so you make the payment.”

There are some things you can look out for. The utility has some advice for its customers.

In this case, check the number that is calling you and asking for immediate payment. It could be a giveaway to the scammers.

“On this particular scam, the numbers that are being called from are toll-free numbers, 1-800 numbers,” Dunn said. “HELCO advises they will not call you from a toll-free number.”

The utility also says if you do need to pay your bill, there are a number of businesses that accept walk-in payments: First Hawaiian Bank, Foodland, Kmart, Sack N Save, Safeway, Walmart, and Western Union.

If you are contacted, HELCO says take a name and call the company back.

Click here for more information from HELCO.

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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