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Kauai police chief records 'comical' telephone scam attempt

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 05:54 p.m. HST, Nov 29, 2012

A telephone scammer dialed up a wrong number earlier this month, reaching Kauai’s police chief who recorded the conversation and shared it with the public to raise awareness about how con artists operate.

Police Chief Darryl Perry received a voicemail in which the caller had a cashier’s check waiting for him. Perry called back the number and was told a $250,000 check was waiting for him as a reward for shopping at a local supermarket, “paying your bills on time ... and being a good American citizen.”

The call goes on for about 15 minutes as Perry plays along, and the caller eventually tries to get him to send $500 “to clear up” the “1 percent” tax he must pay on his reward.

The Kauai Police Department posted the recorded conversation on its website, www.kauai.gov/police.

“We wanted the public to get a true understanding of how con artists operate so they can identify when they’re being conned,” said Perry. “While this scammer’s promises are so outrageous at times it can seem comical, the fact is there are a lot of people who willingly give their personal information and hard-earned money to strangers. And once that happens, almost nothing can be done to get it back.”

KPD said this scam promises a large payout, but only after the victim wires money to the caller, supposedly to cover taxes or fees. Once the victim makes that initial payment, the con artist is never heard from again.

KPD urges the public to be especially cautious during the holidays when scams are prevalent because the temptation of “free money” can be more inviting to the public.

“The bottom line is if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is,” Perry said. “Never give out your personal information or send money to someone you don’t know.”

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Pocho wrote:
So did Chief Perry put a trace on the call to catch the scammer? or did he just brush it off as a joke to tell all?
on November 29,2012 | 04:58PM
Manoa2 wrote:
The calls are never really made from the phone they are coming from. A common method is to hack into a phone system or a "bank" of unused 800 series numbers over the internet-- hiding their identity on the itnternet, then use that number to make their calls. The number itself is useless and the trace cannot find the caller, and even if it did find an IP address or some other link, that is where it would end-- you might learn the call originated in North Dakato, but it was relayed through Russia, Alania, and South Africa.
on November 29,2012 | 05:27PM
Pocho wrote:
That's the problem with local authorities, they laid back and laugh about things like these instead of contacting possibly the FBI if the call came from out of State. Do Something!
on November 29,2012 | 04:59PM
soundofreason wrote:
I've called the FBI before. THEIR answer is ask whether or not I had yet experienced any loss from the attempted act. When I had to tell them "no" - they told me they only get involved when a loss is incurred. So........no preventative measure.
on November 29,2012 | 06:57PM
967972005 wrote:
Does the police chief realize recording a phone conversation without the knowledge and consent of the distant party is illegal. I don't condone telephone scams, but I don't condone illegal recordings either.
on November 29,2012 | 05:29PM
matsuyama wrote:
Sssh, don't ruin the trap! It's a sting to lure the scammer out of hiding. If he can get the scammer to sue him for an illegal recording, he can apprehend the perpetrator.
on November 29,2012 | 05:41PM
sixthsense wrote:
on November 29,2012 | 10:30PM
st1d wrote:
not illegal in hawaii.
on November 29,2012 | 05:51PM
kk808 wrote:
967972005: I thought it was legal as long as one party knows of the recording.
on November 29,2012 | 06:07PM
st1d wrote:
that's right. so, perry, party of one, knew of the recording.
on November 29,2012 | 06:13PM
fbiguy wrote:
Hawaii is a one-party consent state, meaning it is legal for anyone to record a phone call without the other party's consent.
on November 29,2012 | 08:06PM
hikine wrote:
Recording a scam is not illegal since the call itself is illegal. Dialing 911 will automatically record the conversation and that's not illegal. This is were a lot of companies now are giving you notice when you call that.. 'this call might be monitored for quality purposes' to cover themselves if a client makes a threat to it's employees or company.
on November 29,2012 | 08:18PM
sixthsense wrote:
You only have to worry, if you're a scammer!
on November 29,2012 | 10:16PM
st1d wrote:
first: kudos to chief perry for exposing how scammers operate. hope others out there listen to the recording and learn from this. he got the phone number of the scammers, the name used, and the address of the drop site.

second: "robert silva" is a classic.

on November 29,2012 | 05:31PM
kk808 wrote:
Last week I received the same type of call; he called himself John Sinclair and represented the Gold Rush Winners Institution. The number he was calling from was from Kingston, Jamaica. He said he will have someone deliver a check for 2.5M, but first to take care of the federal taxes he had to have a green dot card from Walmart for $499.00. According to Consumer Protection the green dot card is untraceable. He finally quit calling after a few choice words from me.
on November 29,2012 | 06:17PM
hikine wrote:
That's insane, he would give $2.5 MILLION for a $499.00 card! Just tell him to take the $499.00 out of the $2.5 mil and send you the rest!
on November 29,2012 | 08:23PM
sloturle wrote:
did they catch the guy??
on November 29,2012 | 07:17PM
sixthsense wrote:
These clowns do this for a living and think it's cute because so many Americans have fallen for this. The FBI is NOT concerned. How do I know? I called the Headquarters here and the lady who answered sounded as if I was disrupting her break! She said, "don't respond to these guys!" She made me sound stupid by my asking, "is that it?"
on November 29,2012 | 10:25PM
MililaniDad wrote:
This is so cool, thanks Chief, would love to see this go viral!
on November 29,2012 | 07:23PM
residenttaxpayer wrote:
The scammers can only scam you if you let them. There is no free lunch, free money, free anything period. If it sounds too good to be true, its because it is....Duhhhhhhhhhh
on November 29,2012 | 07:59PM
Kalaheo1 wrote:
Chief Perry is an awesome individual! Thanks Chief!!
on November 29,2012 | 08:02PM
hikine wrote:
One day I had a call claiming to be from a creditor and that I was late with a payment. He asked if I wanted to pay over the phone. I said okay, then he asked for my credit card number to verify if I was the right person. I then asked him since he was from the credit card company he should already know my credit card number and asked him to read it back to me. After a few seconds he chuckled and hung up! In the background I could hear people talking and I think it was a boiler room operation. The point is to never give any personal information over the phone, tell them you'll call them back by the telephone number on the back of the credit card and deal with them directly and if they threaten you, just hang up.
on November 29,2012 | 08:08PM
sixthsense wrote:
Book 'em, Chief! I had that happen to me. They asked for an address and I gave them the one where I work and where the postal inspectors work too. The scammers were suppose to send a large check; I deposit it to my checking and send them back a couple of thousands. And you all know, by the time the check clears, you are out of the amount you sent . Our first encounter with these Nigerian scammers happened when my daughter answered an ad in our newspaper for a babysitting job at a Waikiki convention. She was going to receive a $3,000 check to watch 2 kids. She was told to spend half and return the other portion to a London address. We asked too many questions which made them think twice; they gave up. Here's another one. We placed an ad in our newspaper to sell a puppy. We received a call for the dog, they were gonna send a check, we send the dog to them in NY and keep the rest of the money. We can't seem to get away from the creeps.
on November 29,2012 | 10:26PM
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