The Hawaiʻi Police Department is warning island residents to be aware of a telephone scam soliciting money to bail relatives out of jail.
Recently, a telephone call was made to an elderly female in Honokaʻa. She reported that her “grandson” called her and stated that he was in jail in New Jersey and that she needed to send money for his bail. It is unknown how they got her grandson’s name and her phone number. The caller was very brief and stated his attorney was going to call her with better details.
Another male party called an hour later and explained her grandson was involved in a traffic accident but got arrested for drunk driving and she needed to send $7,500 to bail him out.
According to HPD, at first, they wanted the woman to FedEx the money, but she stated there was no FedEx in Honokaʻa so she would use Postal Service. They also asked her to make it no signature required. They stressed for her to not tell other family members. She then went to the credit union, took out $7,500 cash, put it in an envelope and mailed it to the address that the second caller requested to.
She later called her grandson’s wife and was then able to speak to her real grandson who told her that he was in a different state and had not been arrested.
HPD is asking the public to be aware and not to send cash to strangers. A red flag is to send cash only and not to let any family members know.
“Warn seniors who live alone, and let them know that they should not be tricked by this ongoing scam,” officials say.