New 'ransom scam' targets Maui families - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

New 'ransom scam' targets Maui families

(image: Hawaii News Now/file) (image: Hawaii News Now/file)
KAHULUI, MAUI (HawaiiNewsNow) -

A new version of a frightening ransom scam is making its way around the Valley Isle.

Several Maui residents report almost coughing up thousands of dollars to save a loved one in trouble.

The latest involves a so-called Emergency Medical Technician claiming a family member has been in a bad car accident and a man claiming his son has been badly injured by that family member.

"I got a call from an ambulance driver, he sounded real convincing and official…he said my brother-in-law has been in an accident and the guy he hit was a young guy, and that guy's father was there," said a Haiku resident who doesn’t want to be identified.

The Haiku resident said the so-called father then came on the line.

"Basically told me they were gonna keep my brother-in-law until I could come up with $3,000,"

The Haiku man said the alleged father demanded not to call police because the son had warrants out for his arrest. He said he stayed on the phone with the scammers for nearly two hours trying to find the money before realizing it was fake.

“It's not like a traditional phone scam, or an internet scam, someone posing as IRS or something like that, It was like a real next level, like they were gonna hurt your family member if you don't come up with the money. So they play on people's emotions," the Haiku resident said.

Earlier that day, a Maui husband and wife got the exact same phone call from the exact same number, (304) 932-5700. This time, the scammers were asking for $4,500.

"When I answered it, there was a man who came on, he said he was an EMT…he even gave me an EMT number…he was at the scene of an accident and he wanted to know if I had a daughter," said a woman, who also wants to be anonymous.

That woman’s husband recorded part of their conversation with the scammers.

“Listen man, are you going to help your (expletive) daughter?” the scammer said.

“If you (expletive) with me man, you won't find your (expletive) daughter. How much can you (expletive) help her with so my boy can be taken cared of?” he continued.

The conversation lasted about 12 minutes. The family never paid because they eventually got a hold of their daughter who was at home sleeping.

Both residents filed police reports with the Maui Police Department.

Maui Police say any caller asking for money over the phone is a red flag. They warn residents not to give out any personal or financial information over the phone. They said if a caller claims to be an EMT, call police dispatch to verify. 

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