Police warn of email scam

The Hawaii Police Department is warning the public about another reported scam.

Several individuals have reported to police unauthorized changes to their payroll direct deposit accounts. In this email scam, commonly referred to as a Business Email Compromise (BEC) payroll scam, the scammer utilizes a real employee’s name, usually found via an internet search, to send an email to that person’s human resources or finance department.

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The email will usually be sent from a fictitious account, but may appear similar to the true address or utilize the victim’s name. In the email, the scammer will ask for the individual’s direct deposit to be moved to a different bank (utilized by the scammer) and will submit associated paperwork via this email account. Since the email uses an employee’s name and similar email address the change is then processed. The victim may not realize this happened until they don’t receive their next direct deposit.

Variations of this scam utilize popular cash transfer applications as the sender claiming a large deposit or refund and request the user to click on a link to confirm.

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Police advise anyone who receives email requests dealing with financial information to first verify the request is legitimate.

Scams, such as this one, can be reported to the Federal Trade Commission via their website at www.ftc.gov. Additional information about recently reported scams can also be found on the Federal Trade Commission’s website at www.consumer.ftc.gov/features/scam-alerts.

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