Be vigilant: Scammers are trying to take advantage of consumers during pandemic

Hawaii Attorney General warns of coronavirus-related scams

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - As the global coronavirus pandemic continues, the public should be aware of scammers trying to take advantage of worried consumers.

There has been an increased number of phone scams reported.

n one day, HECO said 23 fraud reports were received.

On Wednesday, Hawaiian Electric said one customer lost $300 after a scammer called and threatened to cut off power to the person’s home. To avoid it, they demanded payment via Cash App, which is not an approved form of payment.

HECO also reminds everyone they do not accept payment in forms of bitcoin, gift cards, or prepaid debit cards. If a caller demands payment in this form, it is a scam.

To avoid confusion, HECO says they are suspending disconnections until at least April 17.

In a separate case on Hawaii Island, a telephone scam was reported which involved the solicitation of donations for “overworked and under-paid” first responders.

“The public has to be extra cautious of those who would take advantage of our community in a crisis situation,” Hawaii Attorney General Clare Connors said. “We advise everyone to be vigilant, especially as we all work to ensure that everyone has access to necessities.”

The Better Business Bureau has set up a web page for people to stay vigilant during the pandemic. Click here to access it.

Price gouging has also been a growing concern for shoppers as they look for much needed supplies.

Those with concerns over raised prices can report it by emailing ocp@dcca.hawaii.gov.

As an easy rule of thumb, never give out your personal information over the phone or on unsecured websites. This include credit cards numbers, social security numbers, addresses and more.

In some cases, the caller may claim to already know or have this information on file, but do not fall for it.

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