RELEASE: STATE WARNS OF SCAM TARGETING CONSUMERS ON SOCIAL MEDIA

Posted on Sep 18, 2018 in Latest News

HONOLULU – The State of Hawaii Office of Consumer Protection is warning consumers of a money-flipping scam on social media, such as Instagram and Facebook, in which scammers are posing as Stephen Levins, the Executive Director of the Office of Consumer Protection, to bilk consumers out of money.

The scammers target consumers in financial desperate situations with photos of cash or luxury items on social media promising special knowledge of a secret investment that guarantees a huge payout. All the consumer would have to do is send money to the scammer, usually in the form of a prepaid money card, that the scammer claims will be used to double or triple the consumer’s investment. The scammer will then terminate contact with the consumer and run off with the money.

The Office of Consumer Protection has received complaints that scammers are telling consumers they are from the Office of Consumer Protection in money-flipping schemes to gain their trust.

“Don’t fall for this scam. Scammers routinely impersonate governmental agencies and officials to bilk consumers. The Office of Consumer Protection will never request that a consumer send it money via an email or telephone call. If you get contacted from someone claiming to be a governmental agency asking for money don’t send it!,” said Stephen Levins, Executive Director of the Office of Consumer Protection.

To avoid falling victim to these types of scams, the Office of Consumer protection offers consumers the following tips:
• If a follower or “friend” on social media offers a scheme to double or triple your money, ignore and delete them from your account.
• Anytime a social media follower or “friend” asks to send payment by prepaid money card it should be a red flag that this is a scam.
• Never give out personal information, such as your Social Security Number, to a stranger on the phone, social media, or email.
• Never wire money through Western Union, MoneyGram, or any other wire service to a person you do not know.
• Never purchase gift or prepaid money cards for the purpose of providing the card numbers to someone else.
• Immediately contact the Office of Consumer Protection or the Federal Trade Commission if you suspect that you’re dealing with a scammer.
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Media Contact:
William Nhieu
Communications Officer
Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs
Email: wnhieu@dcca.hawaii.gov
Phone: (808) 586-7582
Cell: (808) 389-2788