‘Tis the season to beware of scammers, and real estate licensees are no exception.

On December 18, 2020, the California Department of Real Estate (DRE) sent out a notice to licensees about a scam targeting real estate brokers and sales agents.

The scammers identify themselves as DRE staff, investigators or law enforcement and tell the licensee they are under investigation or have received a disciplinary action from the DRE. They then direct the licensee to wire a fee to clear their license.

The DRE stresses it will never ask a licensee to:

  • wire money;
  • make a payment to an individual; or
  • pay a fee without first sending a document by certified mail notifying the licensee they are subject to disciplinary action.

The phone number used by the scammers may appear to come directly from the DRE. When this occurs, the targeted licensee ought to report the instance to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), here.

If you become the target of a scam, notify your local law enforcement agency. If you are unsure whether the person you are in contact with at the DRE is a scammer, contact the DRE directly at 1-877-373-4542 and follow the prompts to speak with an investigator for confirmation on whether the contact in question works at the DRE.