Homeowners are not the only ones at risk when it comes to real estate fraud. Today’s scam actually targets real estate agents and brokers and mortgage brokers. If you are a member of any of these target demographics, look out for phone calls from the Division of Real Estate with a courtesy reminder that your fingerprints are due to be updated. These callers inform the target that their license will be suspended unless they pay a small fee immediately and then resolve the issue, explaining that the paper notice sent out has already been ignored and the licensee is now in a penalty period. The fee is to be paid via credit card over the phone, opening up the target to credit card fraud and the loss of a relatively small amount of cash.
When contacted, a representative from the Division of Real Estate stated that the entity will never contact any licensee and ask for a credit card number over the phone. In fact, there are only a few licensees being asked to submit updated fingerprints at this time. This group is made up of licensees who are “mortgage originators who are establishing their records in the nationwide mortgage licensing system (NMLS). Payments for this process are handled exclusively through the website, and any deviation from this norm should be reported directly to the Division of Real Estate in the area that has claimed to contact you. This includes direct contact via telephone from a person claiming to represent the division and asking for a fee or notifying you as a “courtesy” that you are late in your update.