Punahou teen accused of scamming students, under investigation

Punahou teen accused of scamming students, under investigation

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A 13-year old girl is under investigation by her school after several students complained that she stole thousands of dollars from them in a cyber scam.

Victims tell Hawaii News Now the Punahou freshman had multiple Instagram accounts for her online boutique. She sold bikinis and other items popular with teens. She also offered to do trades. But when others sent cash or items to exchange, they say, they got nothing in return.

Honolulu Police are not pursuing charges because they say no complaint has been filed, but investigators say there does appear to be victims on the mainland too.

Cybersecurity expert Chris Duque says Instagram is the Craigslist and Ebay for teenagers and says the trading of items is a popular practice.

The teen was able to manage multiple accounts. When victims started catching on to her scam, they'd post negative comments. The girl would then use another account and respond, sometimes pretending to be a sister.

Sources say she would also create new pages and give it a positive review using another account.

"It's a well-known tactic used among scammers, so someone so young starting to do that and learning those techniques is something to be concerned about," says Duque who hopes the girl is punished by the school and her parents, "Get to her before it gets too serious."

Punahou did issue this statement to Hawaii News Now:

We are aware that Punahou was named in association with accusations of an internet scam. We are currently investigating that. We would not be able to speak about any individuals who may be involved especially if they are minor students.

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