Big Island police are warning the public to beware of telephone scams, especially those that require a phone call to an unfamiliar area code.
Some three-digit area codes that look like toll-free numbers connect callers to international telephone numbers, police said.
One of the most common ones, Area Code 876, is in Jamaica and results in exorbitant charges billed to the caller — as much as $20 for a 30-second call.
Scammers often target older citizens and claim that they won a valuable prize, such as the lottery or a car. They then ask for a processing fee before they can deliver the winnings. They sometimes use Google Earth to identify local landmarks and make the scam sound more believable.
Please be aware that legitimate operations don’t require winners to pay before collecting their prizes.
The public is reminded not to provide personal information such as bank accounts, pin numbers or Social Security numbers over the phone or by internet without confirming independently that the person asking for it is legitimate.