Business

State Warns Public About Real Estate Scam

September 20, 2012, 10:14 PM HST
* Updated September 20, 10:43 PM
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The Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs is warning Big Island residents about a phishing scam involving an imposter posing as an investigator from DCCA’s Real Estate Branch.

DCCA has received credible information that emails and at least one phone call were made to real estate licensees asking for personal information.

The Real Estate Branch wants the public to know that its employees do not request personal information, such as driver’s license numbers and Social Security numbers, by phone or over the internet.

“This phishing scam was brought to the attention of DCCA by alert licensees who contacted the department to verify the identity of the sender and to report possible foul play,” said DCCA Director Keali‘i Lopez.

“We’re sharing this information with the public to prevent others from being victimized by unscrupulous identity thieves.”

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Phishing scams involve the use of emails that appear to be from a legitimate entity.

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In fact, the emails are from imposters who are attempting to trick the recipient into surrendering private information that can be used for identity theft.

Scammers will often use website addresses with names that are very similar to the web addresses of well-known organizations.

Be wary of any unsolicited email or calls that request personal information, even if they appear to come from a familiar agency or company. In the email involving DCCA, the sender used an email address that had a “hawaii-gov.us” suffix.

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If you have been contacted by someone claiming to be from the Real Estate Branch and requesting personal information, please contact the Real Estate Branch by email at [email protected] or by telephone at (808) 586-2643.

Impersonating a public servant is a crime in Hawaii. This matter is being forwarded to the Department of the Attorney General and the Federal Bureau of Investigations.

More information about identity theft can be found at DCCA’s website at: http://hawaii.gov/dcca/id_theft_info.

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