Big Island police are warning island residents to be aware of a telephone ‘spoofing’ incident in which scammers used a police station number to make a call.

On Tuesday, July 10 a telephone call was made to a female adult in Honoka'a. She reported that a male party with a foreign accent identified himself as a representative of the Social Security Administration, and asked her for personal information, to include her social security number.

He stated that if she did not provide the number, he would send police officers to her house to arrest her. The female stated that the number that showed up on her caller ID was the Honoka'a Police Station telephone number, which seemed to add validity to the call.

According to the police department, ‘spoofing’ occurs when people make it appear as if their phone calls are coming from a different number. The call recipient sees the caller ID and believes the call to be from the true owner of the number when it isn’t, which is becoming more common. 

Police are advising the public to be aware of callers who ask for personal information over the telephone.

“We want the public to be aware of these fraudulent calls,” said Officer Luke Watkins of Hamakua Police.  “Everyone needs to be diligent in protecting themselves from telephone scammers.”