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Minnesota Commerce Department warns about texting scam that targets real estate agents

8/7/2017 12:16:38 PM

SAINT PAUL – Licensed real estate agents have recently reported receiving text messages that claim to be from the Minnesota Department of Commerce and demand payment for a civil penalty via PayPal.

The Commerce Department does not communicate with its licensees via text messages, never asks for payment for a civil penalty via a text, and does not use PayPal.  Civil penalties are typically described in a consent order sent by mail or email, and a check or money order is required for payment. Also, licensees should keep in mind that the Department will get in contact by phone before a civil penalty is issued and the respondent agrees to a consent order.

Examples of the suspicious text messages are below.

The National Association of Realtors recently reported similar phishing attempts via text messages targeting realtors

The Commerce Department is investigating these fraudulent text messages in coordination with the state’s IT services.

PayPal Message Screen Shot

The Commerce Department offers the following guidance to real estate licensees who receive a suspicious text message:

PayPal Scam login

Questions may also be directed to the Commerce Department at licensing.commerce@state.mn.us or 651-539-1599.

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