Wire scam is something you may have heard of before. You may have even found yourself wondering how it happens. Well, I’m here to let you know that wire scam is still a thing because it still works. Here is what sometimes takes place:
Homebuyers keep losing deposits and even homes under contract because hackers jump in at the last minute and email them false wiring instructions.
Under the scam, a criminal gains access to emails from a trusted partner in a home buying transaction, such as a title company, lawyer or construction firm. They monitor back-and-forth communications until it’s time to make a deposit or send a final amount to close on the home. Since the hackers have access to a transaction firm’s email system, the buyer receives an email that actually came from the trusted business they’ve been working with. In these cases, scammers may monitor correspondence about specific transactions for months before swooping in to send fake wiring instructions.
When the scam email arrives, it appears legitimate. However, it typically contains a slight variances in the links if the buyer chooses to respond via “reply,” such as a return email address that has a “1” somewhere in the middle where an “i” usually appears.
The results can cost buyers tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars.
You may think it sounds crazy (how could someone make that mistake) yet there are 2,300 complaints of cybercrime a day.
It is important to be cautious during every step of a real estate transaction. As a realtor/broker, I always make sure to help my clients through the process.