Isle residents warned of scam


POSTED: Friday, February 06, 2009

Some Hawaii residents have been targeted in a scam through text messaging, e-mails and other forms of telecommunication in recent weeks.





        » If you receive a suspicious or spam text message, contact your wireless service provider immediately.

» Activate spam filters.


» Register your number with the National Do Not Call Registry by visiting http://www.donotcall.gov or calling (888) 382-1222 from the number you wish to have registered. It will limit the ability of telemarketers to contact you without your permission.


» Change your cell phone's default e-mail address.


» File a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission by filling out Form 1088, available online at www.fcc.gov/cgb/ complaints, or calling (888) 225-5322.


Source: State Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs


Two credit unions, as well as the Credit Union National Association, have already issued warnings to its customers regarding the scam.

The messages notify the recipient through a text message, e-mail or recorded voice message regarding:

» Account deactivation or suspension.

» Account status alert.

» Changes to terms and conditions.

» Irregular activity.

» Blocked debit cards.

“;All are designed to collect important personal and account information,”; said Aloha Pacific Federal Credit Union officials in a news release. “;Though they may look like legitimate correspondences, Aloha Pacific never sends text or e-mail messages asking for account information.”;

Customers of Honolulu Federal Credit Union also have been contacted. In some instances a phone number is given with the instructions to call.

Credit union officials said they do not contact members this way to request such information, and that recipients of the messages should not respond.

Some of the local texts have an 808 area code attached to the numbers.

There have been a “;couple”; of inquiries to the state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs regarding the scams, said agency spokeswoman Christine Hirasa.

Hirasa said the department advises residents to ignore the messages and contact their mobile carrier.

On Sunday a 59-year-old Hilo man reported he received two consecutive text messages claiming to be from different credit unions. He called both and reported it later to Big Island police.

“;I'm worried that they're going after some of the elderly people,”; said 72-year-old David G. Hill, of Kahaluu.

Hill has received six scam texts from six sources posing as credit unions. He reported it to his carrier, who told him there was not much that could be done except to ignore the nuisance.

“;It's obviously false because in the six cases, there were four of them which I had absolutely no association with the credit union,”; Hill said. “;And the ones I do have, neither of them would have sent me anything like that.”;