Our partners at KHON in Honolulu warn of a scam that has been increasingly striking consumers in their area recently.  If a stranger contacts you via text message and sends inappropriate photos, possibly with a message like “can’t wait to meet up” it is quite possibly a scam.  The criminals behind it will use the tactic to draw unsuspecting victims into a longer conversation.  This can form a virtual relationship, which the scammer will eventually use to persuade the victim to give them money.  The scammers often use “burner” phone numbers, which are much harder to trace than permanent phone lines.  It’s a bad idea to engage with someone you don’t know online, especially if you can’t verify who they are or how you met them.  Never wire funds, send cash or pre-paid gift cards, or share credit card information with anyone you don’t know and trust.  If you or someone you know may have been scammed this way, you may have some recourse, particularly if you paid someone by credit card or shared credit card information.  Cancel the card and dispute any charges you didn’t authorize.  You can also report a scammer to the police.

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