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Police warn of credit, debit, gift card scam


The Hawai’i Police Department is warning merchants about a scam that may spread from O’ahu to other islands, including the Big Island.

A customer purchases merchandise using what appears to be a valid debit card, credit card or gift card. When the cashier swipes the card, a “bad swipe” error code appears. At this point, the suspect instructs the cashier to call an 800 number printed on the back of the card. The 800 number actually goes to a co-conspirator posing as a bank representative, who provides false or stolen credit card information that allows the transaction to go forward. The merchant later discovers that the transaction was fraudulent.

Police ask merchants to report any suspicious activity involving debit, credit or gift cards.

Members of the public are advised to check their credit card statements and report any unauthorized charges.

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