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Residents urged to beware of telephone scammers hiding behind legitimate police phone numbers

The Hawaii Police Department is warning residents to be aware of a telephone spoofing incident in which scammers are using a police station number to call people.

Today, a Honokaa woman got a call from a male party with a foreign accent identifying himself as a Social Security Administration representative.

He asked her for personal information, including her Social Security number, and that if she failed to provide him the number, he would send police officers to her house to arrest her, police said.

The woman said the number showed up on her caller ID as the Honokaa Police Station.

Hawaii County police warn that spoofing, when people make it appear as if their phone calls are coming from a different number, has been recently popularized by telemarketers. The recipient sees the caller ID and believes it is from the true owner of the number when it isn’t.

Police say that the public should be aware of callers asking for personal information over the phone.

“As a general rule of thumb, if you cannot verify the caller’s identity or you do not know who they are, do not release any personal information to them,” police said in a news release.

Police recommend to be a good witness by noting down information about the call, taking notice of the caller such as accent, gender, specific words used, verify the caller or number called from and when in doubt, call police for clarification using the department’s non-emergency number, 935-3311 (on Hawaii island).

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