The Hawaiʻi Police Department is warning the public about an e-mail scam that was recently reported.
According to police, a board member of a Big Island community association was contacted via e-mail by what appeared to be another board member. In the e-mail, the board member was directed to write and mail out a check for administrative and operating expenses, via UPS/FedEx, with next day delivery to an address in Mobile, Alabama.
At first glance, the e-mail appeared to have originated from another board member, however, upon closer review it was determined the e-mail address of the sender was not familiar, and the board member confirmed the e-mail was not legitimate therefore no money was sent.
Police advise anyone who receives e-mail requests for money to first verify the request is legitimate. One way to do this is by personally contacting the sender either in a separate e-mail, via telephone, or in person.
Also, if an e-mail contains a website link to click on to update account information or to make a payment, police advise the public to open a separate internet window and navigate directly to the website to ensure the request is valid. Often, in e-mail scams, the included website link will take the individual to a fraudulent site which will then be used to gather personal information such as banking and credit card information. In any event, the public is advised against sending money to anyone unless they are sure the request is bonafide.
Scams, such as this one, can be reported to the Federal Trade Commission via their website. Additional information about recently reported scams can also be found via the Federal Trade Commission’s website.