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Caution: Extortionists on the Loose

According to this morning's edition of the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, the Honolulu Police Department (HPD) has reported a rash of acts of extortion. Callers claim to be HPD officers with real names and badge numbers to collect personal information from unwitting victims. Ouch! That's dangerous -- and it can happen anywhere. Even the Internal Revenue Service tells people to beware of such extortionists and that they never make such phone calls.

So, as we've heard before, never give out your personal information over the telephone or online. Here are a few tips to ensure your safety:

-- Check into a service that blocks such people from collecting your personal online information and selling it to other such people.

-- If you shop online, consider using such services as Paypal to minimize the times when you have to give out personal information.

-- Check with your bank to see if they keep an eye out for potentially fraudulent withdrawals from your accounts.

-- Do business with companies that keep an eye out for potentially fraudulent purchases in your name. I was recently contacted by Wayfair, asking if I had made a certain purchase. I had not. Thank goodness, Wayfair caught it and kept the sale from going through.

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