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Hackers Are Getting Buyers Funds Thru Wiring! Buyers Lose All!!!

June 20, 2014

Buyers- be very wary and observant!!!  Hackers are getting buyers emails, sending emails that look legitimate from Escrow and Title, instructing buyers to wire their funds to a different location than was originally instructed.  The money is then gone and so is the home!

This is the Fraud Alert we received from a Title Rep:  Here is how the scheme works:

1. The fraudster hacks into the e-mail accounts of a person related to a real estate transaction (e.g. real estate agent or mortgage broker) without their knowledge.

2. The fraudster monitors e-mails to find details of upcoming closings.

3. The fraudster learns the parties’ names, the amount of the deposit, the entity holding the deposit, and other details.

4. The fraudster sends an e-mail to the buyer from the real estate agent’s, mortgage Broker’s, or escrow agent’s e-mail address. The e-mail looks normal in every way. The email may also include legitimate attachments that match the documents in real estate agent’s file or the escrow file.

5. The fraudster’s e-mail directs the buyer or escrow officer to wire the funds to a bank account other than that shown in the preliminary report or commitment, escrow instructions, or commission demand. In reality, the wire instructions are to an account controlled by the fraudster.

6. If the money is wired as instructed, it is gone for good, and has been stolen from the buyer, seller, or escrow account by fraud.

We had this happen in my office just recently and I read this morning that it is happening across the country.  Out here in California, funds to close an escrow are wired to Title, but buyers get so many emails from Escrow that it doesn’t look suspicious getting one like this.

When you sign your loan documents, just prior to closing escrow, there will be wiring instructions in that package.  If you receive an email instructing you to send elsewhere, wait  and speak with Title, Escrow or your closing Attorney (depending on your state), to verify what you received.  If you do receive an email like this , save for the FBI and police.

 

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