Hawaii County police warn the public of a sweepstakes scam after a culprit stole over $12,000 from a 70-year-old Keaau woman who fell prey to the caller’s scheme.
Police said the woman received a phone call on Dec. 22 from the caller with an 876 area code number who told her she had won a sweepstakes prize.
When the woman became suspicious, the caller asked for her personal account information so he can pay off her balance “in an act of good faith,” according to Hawaii County police in a news release.
The suspect then told her to contact her bank to confirm. Police said a bank representative informed her there was a pending deposit to her account.
Police said the scammer called back claiming tax and lottery laws require Hawaii residents to pre-pay taxes before receiving the prize.
Big Island Maj. Sam Thomas said he convinced her to send over $12,000 money to an address he gave her.
The victim later learned the pending deposit was never processed.
Police warn residents not to provide any personal account information or fall prey to any requests for payments via telephone or the internet.