Getting a call from area code 876 could be a scam

By Paula Akana
Published On: Jul 05 2013 04:08:00 PM HST

It's a call that many of us have received on our cell or land line phone: area code 876, Jamaica. Unless there is a personal connection to Jamaica, it just may be a call from scam artists. These scammers are preying on our kupuna.

HONOLULU -

It's a call that many of us have gotten on our cellphone or at home.  You see the area code 876 from Jamaica.

Many times, it is a call from scam artists and they are preying on our kupuna.

Even those in the KITV newsroom were getting the calls.

"You get a call; they tell you that you've won some money.  Million, 2 million, up to 6 million, I've heard," said Lt. John McCarthy of the Honolulu Police Department Financial Crimes Detail.

To collect your prize, you need to pay "processing fees."

The scammers may tell you to get a green dot pre-paid credit card.

"Once you get that, they want you to call them back.  That's where the scam is really perpetuated," said McCarthy.  "That is where they'll ask you how can I confirm that you have that card and you'll read them off the credit card number, but when you did, that you just gave them whatever you just loaded onto that card."

"I got a call the other month that someone was actually complaining that the Canadian lottery hadn't sent him his $22 million," said Deputy Prosecutor Scott Spallina.  "Once you pick up that phone, they don't hang up.  They don't take 'no' for an answer.  They will badger you, badger you and often time our seniors are not used to that."

The problem is Jamaica is out of HPD's jurisdictional reach and police say they flaunt it when officers call the 876 numbers back.

"Sometimes we'll tell the we're law enforcement and they'll tell us that they're law enforcement so they know they are well out of our reach and we're pretty much unable to do anything about it," said McCarthy.

Prosecutors say screen your calls.  Let the machine pick it up, especially if you don't know anyone from Jamaica.

This is a statewide problem.  Just several weeks ago, the Hawaii Police Department on the Big Island sent out a warning to its residents, especially its senior citizens, telling them to beware of area code 876.

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