CONSUMER ALERT: An Eye for Detail Could Spot a Scam
LITTLE ROCK – 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or visit ArkansasAG.gov or facebook.com/AGLeslieRutledge.
About Attorney General Leslie Rutledge
Leslie Carol Rutledge is the 56th Attorney General of Arkansas. She is the first woman and first Republican in Arkansas history to be elected to the office. Since taking office, she has begun a Mobile Office program, a Military and Veterans Initiative, a Metal Theft Prevention program and a Cooperative Disability Investigations program. She has led efforts to teach Internet safety, combat domestic violence and make the office the top law firm for Arkansans. Rutledge also serves on the Executive Committee of the Republican Attorneys General Association and re-established and co-chairs the National Association of Attorneys General Committee on Agriculture.
A native of Batesville, she is a graduate of the University of Arkansas and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law. Rutledge clerked for the Arkansas Court of Appeals, was Deputy Counsel for Gov. Mike Huckabee, served as a Deputy Prosecuting Attorney in Lonoke County and subsequently was an Attorney at the Department of Human Services before serving as Counsel at the Republican National Committee. Rutledge and her husband, Boyce, have a home in Pulaski County and a farm in Crittenden County.