Fraud Awareness Month
by Michael Choe | Nov. 6, 2022
Recently, I’ve been receiving texts and phone calls from unknown numbers claiming to be an insurance company, a law firm, a lender, and more. It’s alarming how frequently scammers have been contacting me. Fraud Awareness Month in November serves as a good reminder to stay alert and vigilant when it comes to dealing with impersonators and suspicious activity. Here are a few tips that have helped keep my personal information from getting into the wrong hands.
Just hang up
Hanging up is the most effective and immediate solution to stopping a scam attempt over the phone. If you answer the phone and receive a suspicious request or hear an automated message, don’t hesitate to hang up. Or better yet, don’t answer calls from unknown numbers!
Ignore messages from unknown numbers and email addresses
I’m told I’m delinquent on many payments for utilities, my car warranty and rent. Well, that’s according to whoever’s been calling and informing me about my “last warning.” These false threats from scammers may also come by email or text, and try to rush you into giving personal information. If someone claims to be from a legitimate company, some red flags to look for are specific messages that don’t address you by name, or grammatical errors and shortened links that aren’t using the official base URL. Even if they address you by name and have your personal information, it’s always good to verify the source of the person contacting you.
Don’t click on unfamiliar links
Whether you know who the sender is or not, don’t click any link you don’t recognize. If your coworker, colleague or family member got hacked, it’s possible that the hacker is attempting to get your personal information by using an email address that you’re familiar with. If you recognize the sender’s name or address but the message seems suspicious, contact the person directly to confirm before responding to the message.
Double-check the sender in emails
If you think the message is from your company or from a family friend, it’s good practice to double-check where the message is coming from. Many scammers will mimic a company email by adding a subtle difference such as an extra letter or a period.
Call to confirm
If you have any doubts about a phone call, text message, email or any other type of contact, you can always call to confirm legitimacy.
Identifying fraud attempts used to be straightforward, but scammers are persistent and constantly coming up with new, sophisticated methods of tricking people into scams. Hawaiian Electric has additional fraud prevention tips that can help you identify scams before it’s too late. Visit www.hawaiianelectric.com/stopscams to review some helpful practices.
Michael Choe is a digital communications and social media specialist at Hawaiian Electric.