Have you gotten the calls about your car warranty or computer security? How about receiving an email or text message from someone who appears to be someone you actually know, but in fact is not? We’ve heard about wire fraud and all know at least one story where a client has either potentially or actually sent their funds to a scammer.
The Commission has learned of a recent scam where the scammer called the licensee pretending to be a law enforcement officer with an arrest warrant for the licensee for failing to appear at a hearing related to the licensee’s client. The caller knew enough about the licensee’s business and personal information to appear legitimate and then strongly encouraged the licensee to pay “bail” online rather than face actual arrest. These scammers may gather information about you, your clients, and your family from various online sources or actual hacking of emails
When you become a licensee you often begin your quest to find clients. This quest entails putting your contact information out for public access. It’s like going fishing with a big net. You throw out the net hoping to catch all the big, prime fish but when you pull it in it also has boards, boots, tires and jellyfish. Putting your contact info out there invites attention, some of which may be unwanted. Note that the Commission requires licensees to provide an email address to allow the Commission to communicate and deliver important information. The licensee may choose to designate a private email address which is not a public record and is not made available to third parties.
Awareness is your best defense. A caller may appear legitimate. A conman’s job is to gain your trust or to put you in enough of a panic that you do whatever they say. Any unsolicited calls where the caller requests money, confidential information, control of your computer, or access to an account, especially under threat of duress, should always be met with skepticism. Be aware – your net may catch some unwanted attention. Always check out the source of the call to make sure it’s legitimate and don’t be caught off guard. Don’t panic. Take your time, take a breath, and think the situation through before providing what the caller wants. As the Sarge said in Hill Street Blues, “Let’s be careful out there.”