In the movie Ghostbusters, when someone needed help with anything paranormal (ghosts, demons … or maybe even night marchers), there was only one number to call — Ghostbusters!
Unfortunately, when a person suspects fraud or financial scams going on, there are a variety of agencies that handle different aspects of this dishonest behavior. As we discussed in the last issue of Generations Magazine, if you suspect elder abuse is occurring, call your local police department; for immediate emergencies, don’t hesitate to dial 911. But if you suspect fraud, there are other agencies you may call:
Charity Division of the Attorney General — 808-586-1480: This division will look up a charity and indicate whether it is licensed. This service is a big factor in determining if the charity is real.
American Institute of Philanthropy — www.charitywatch.org: Here is another resource that monitors charities and if charitable donations are being put to good use.
DO NOT CALL Registry — 888-382-1222 or www.donotcall.gov: This helps reduce phone calls from legitimate businesses (unfortunately scammers can still call saying you won the lottery). And solicitors from charities and politicians will still call you.
Direct Marketing Association (DMA) Mail Preference Service — 202-955-5030: This number removes your name and address from prospective mailing lists to decrease the amount of junk mail you receive from them.
Opt Out Prescreen.Com — 888-567-8688: This number will allow you to “opt-out” of getting offers for preapproved credit cards and insurance deals. This decreases junk mail and the risks of having your mail stolen and someone opening up a credit card in your name.
Medicaid Fraud & Patient Abuse Unit — 808-586-1058: This is a department within the Attorney General’s Office that investigates abuse of dependent adults committed by Medicaid providers, care facilities and paid caregivers.
Long Term Care Ombudsman — 808-586-0100: This department investigates and resolves complaints about the care or services provided in long-term care facilities, including nursing homes, adult residential care homes, assisted living facilities and community care foster family homes.
Consumer Resource Center — 808-587-3295 or 808-587-4272: This agency handles complaints against merchants and licensed professionals, and one can call them for license verification and complaint history of professionals or businesses.
Hawaii Internet & Technology Crimes Unit — 808-587-4111: This unit within the Attorney General’s Office investigates and prosecutes computer-facilitated crimes. Call this department if you fall for a dishonest email or an Internet scam.
Office of Consumer Protection — 808-586-2630: They review, investigate and prosecute allegations of unfair or deceptive business practices.
Financial Crimes Unit — 808-723-3609: This unit within the Honolulu Police Department investigates telemarketing scams, investment frauds and various other white collar crimes.
U.S. Postal Inspection Service — 877-876-2455: This department investigates crimes that use the U.S. Mail, the postal system or postal employees.
Be safe and visit our office’s new elder abuse channel on www.youtube.com. Search for “Elder Abuse Hawaii” to watch videos on elder abuse.