Ken Lawson, Secretary of the Department of Business and Professional Regulation, alerted local Historic City News reporters that licensed real estate professionals, and others in St Johns County licensed by the Department, may be the target of an attempted identity theft scam.
A real estate broker recently received an unsolicited email claiming his brokers’ licenses were the subject of disciplinary action by the Department of Business and Professional Regulation.
The broker was directed to call a toll-free number to respond. The call was reportedly answered by a person claiming to be an investigator with the Department; who asked for personal identification information from the intended victim ostensibly to “locate the broker’s disciplinary file”.
Lawson told reporters that although most records of license holders are public, the personal identification information used by the Department to administer their license is protected. An example would be the licensee’s social security or driver’s license numbers.
The licensing authority told Historic City News that the e-mail was not originated by the Department or any of its investigators.
“If you receive an email from an entity claiming to be the Department and warning you of impending disciplinary action against your license, do not respond to the email or call the listed number,” Lawson cautioned license holders. “Instead, contact the Department directly at 850-487-1395 or log into your online account to determine if any suspension is pending against your license.”
The theft of personal identification information is a crime and should be reported immediately to local law enforcement, Lawson said.