HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Honolulu police and the city Prosecutor's office are warning residents to check their credit card activity regularly after a recent arrest has uncovered a sophisticated scheme targeting locals.
32-year-old Dwight Alexandre has been charged after being arrested at Ala Moana Wednesday night for fraudulent use of a credit card, ID theft, unauthorized use of another person's information and theft.
Honolulu Police say Alexandre is one of many suspects police are looking fro in this credit card scam investigation.
"The reason they do the scheme on local residents is so they won't be detected and I think they're confident they won't be detected, so they'll spend a lot more," said Honolulu Prosecutor Keith Kaneshiro.
Officials believe the perpetrators are flying in to the state from the East Coast -- where they then use counterfeit cards they've created from Hawaii resident's accounts to make purchases locally. By doing so, officials say they avoid the automatic trigger of a fraudulent charge.
"The credit card company will not check because it will assume that it's the local people making those charges and that's why it's a unique type of investigation and a unique scheme and we need to get the information out right away because our citizens are being victimized," said Kaneshiro.
Investigators say they haven't identified how many victims there have been or how much has been fraudulently charged.
"We're all victims in this, because we're supporting this crime in higher costs credit card fees and bank fees and the merchants themselves who actually sustain a loss. We're all victims, it's not just the cardholder or maybe just the merchant," said Honolulu police Lt. John McCarthy.
Police want the public to remain vigilant about their account activity and call police before they contact their credit card company if they find something suspicious.
"We have experiences where the individual has called us and we were able to track it live or catch the person live at a particular store or somewhere," said McCarthy.
Officials say they haven't traced the counterfeit info to any specific data breach, so they don't know how the perpetrators are accessing cardholder's details.