POSTED: 5:45 p.m. HST, Nov 29, 2012
LAST UPDATED: 5:54 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.”