Making Waves: Beware of scams out there

The pandemic is bringing out the scammers and they’re draining bank accounts all over Hawaii.

Money schemes are popping up like mushrooms. COVID-19 scams, food stamp fraud, and unemployment ripoffs are everywhere. In the past week in West Hawaii Today, you may have noticed that there have been at least four articles on scams.

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I have a few tips on how to keep your money in the bank and not in the hands of a con man in BF, Idaho or Nigeria, Africa.

The first tip is to never wave your credit card around in a supermarket. Don’t take it out until you’re in front of the checker. I did, and the next day I checked my bank account and it was empty. Great, that really makes your day.

It seems that some devious guy behind me at the market snapped a picture of my debit card. The next thing I knew someone was buying pizzas in Evanston, Illinois, and someone in Clearwater, Florida, paid his electric bill all on my card.

They have a whole nationwide system going on. It’s not a conspiracy theory, it’s a real conspiracy. I know, I paid for the pizzas.

My wonderful bank returned all my money, God bless ‘em.

But there is a nicer scam, Publishers Clearing House. This is one is where happy people show up at your door with balloons and a big check giving you a million dollars a day for life. After you buy an endless string of useless trinkets, the only balloons you see are the ones floating away with your money.

Allow me to enlighten you about other scams. There’s the PayPal Scam. You get an email saying you’ve won something from Pay Pal. You click onto it and they ask you for your bank account and Social Security numbers. Don’t do it! I called and found out that PayPal does not send emails, only scammers do.

Another one is the “Your Email Account will Close Soon Scam.” They say you won’t be able to log onto your Yahoo or Google email if you don’t renew it. Don’t click on this one! They ask your email password and account numbers. Sound suspicious?

I’ve passed the email close-out deadline about five times and nothing happened. The only thing that closes out is your bank account.

We are so trusting here with aloha. Be careful what you click on.

What about mail scams? Publishers Clearing House is legit but there are copycats. You’ll get an envelope that looks so official and says you’re a winner of something fantastic. You call the number and a fast talker gets on and says you’ve won a diamond bracelet and a yacht! Hang up or all your money will sail away on their yacht.

Then there’s the robocalls, always a pain, and they have 325 or 329 phone prefixes to make you think it’s your friendly neighbor up the street calling. No, they are really calling from Buffalo Breath, Wyoming, to fleece you out of your life savings.

Here’s a good one I got last week. A lady in Nigeria with one leg has two bullion bricks of gold and will give me one of them if I send her $5,000 and a plane ticket to Hawaii.

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Sounds pretty good, I’m thinking it over. Nah, it could be a scam, whatchu think?

Dennis Gregory writes a bi-weekly column for West Hawaii Today and welcomes your comments at makewavess@yahoo.com