Scammers use Hawaii area code to get you to pick up the phone

Scammers now using '808' area code to make you pick up the phone
Published: Dec. 21, 2017 at 2:53 AM HST|Updated: Dec. 21, 2017 at 11:28 AM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - When your phone rings, you can decide whether or not to answer by looking at the caller ID.

But more and more people now say they're getting incoming scam calls with from numbers that begin with "808," Hawaii's area code.

"It could be one of your friends in danger or something," said tech expert Shawn "Doc" Boyd. "And then it's like, 'oh yea, we want to call about the warranty on your car.'"

"Our phone lines have been going off the hook about these calls," said Jason Kama of the Better Business Bureau in Hawaii. "We've been receiving messages either from social media or from our scam tracker website. So it's something that's affecting the entire state."

And the scammers know there's not much you can do.

"If you're an iPhone or Android user, you can block the calls. But they just call back with a different number," said Boyd.

And many times, the phone number that's calling you can even be your own, or a number that's very close. "They're hacking your phone, or whatevers, because all that stuff sounds all scary. But literally they're just running a random number generator, and they go down the list," said Boyd.

"The fact of the matter is that technology exists where they can pick any number. And why wouldn't they pick a number that's effectively yours, but with the last few digits scrambled, so that you're more likely to think that this is someone here in Hawaii," said another tech expert, Ryan Ozawa.

Using a different phone number to pretend to be someone else is called spoofing. And there are several apps that can do it.

Anyone's number might be used. Including Ryan Ozawa's.

"These spoofers, picking a number at random, actually used by number as the outgoing call," he said. "So I've actually received calls on my phone, people angry at me. Or at least one woman angry at me for constantly calling her in the middle of the night. And I assure her I don't use my phone, I don't like my phone, if there was no phone app on my phone app I would be a happy person."

And right now, a lot of Hawaii residents probably feel the same way.

The Better Business Bureau said that if you don't recognize the incoming number, the best thing to do is not to answer the call.

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