Consumer Alerts

    An Eye for Detail Could Spot a Scam


    January 25, 2017

    Scammers are hacking into email accounts of realtors to take money from their clients. The Arkansas Attorney General’s office and the Federal Trade Commission have received reports of a scam where a criminal goes through a realtor’s email looking for upcoming transactions. The hacker then poses as the realtor or title company representative and emails the hopeful homebuyer with “new” instructions to wire the down payment. But instead of the money going to the title company to secure the home, the money goes straight into the hacker’s account.

    “Realtors pledge to protect and promote the interests of their clients,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “And criminals are always on the lookout for ways to take advantage of and exploit trusting relationships. Avoiding this scam requires everyone to be diligent and use extreme caution when wiring money to avoid these sly scammers.”

    Attorney General Rutledge issued the following tips to offer protections against this scam:

    • When it comes to financial transactions, be cautious doing business by email. Call and have an actual conversation with the realtor, title company or bank that you are dealing with. Emails can be hacked.
    • Never open attachments in emails if you are not absolutely sure of the source and were not expecting the email. The attachment may contain malware that can operate undetected on your computer, leaving you vulnerable to cyberattacks.
    • Utilize respected malware and virus protection programs and keep them up to date.
    • When purchasing something online, make sure the URL contains “https,” which lets you know the web address is secure.
    • Never assume the number a person gives you is the correct phone number. Look up the number to assure you are communicating with the actual person or business, or use a phone number you have used to previously reach the person.
    • Utilize complex computer and email passwords and change them frequently to avoid computer hacking.

    Email is not a secure way to send financial information. Emails requesting financial information should be reported to the Federal Trade Commission.

    For more information and tips to avoid scams and other consumer-related issues, contact the Arkansas Attorney General’s office at 800-482-8982 or consumer@arkansasag.gov or visit ArkansasAG.gov or facebook.com/AGLeslieRutledge.

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