So it looks like the bad guys are at it again. Cyber crime, or cyber fraud is a thing, and we want you to be aware of it so that you can protect yourselves and prevent it from happening to you.
HERE’S THE STORY
A buyer of a house was getting to wire funds in order to close escrow. They received an email from who they THOUGHT was escrow, and it wasn’t, it was from an imposter. As soon as this buyer authorized funds to be transferred into this fake account, all that money, to the tune of about $75,000, was essentially gone. It wasn’t a good day for this buyer or for anyone else involved in this transaction, well except for the criminal who walked away from a pretty good payday.
CYBER CRIME ADVISORY ADDENDUM
Real estate transactions involve the use of email communications between agents, clients, service providers and others. Once a criminal hacks any ONE of these email accounts, they are able to create imposter email addresses. These imposter email addresses are then used to provide incorrect wiring instructions to the buyer or to escrow.
Which is why you’ll see this disclaimer on the bottom of all my emails:
ATTENTION FRAUD ALERT: **Be aware! Online banking fraud is on the rise. If you receive an email containing WIRE TRANSFER INSTRUCTIONS, call your escrow officer to verify the information prior to sending funds.** I will never request you wire or send funds or personal information through an email. If you receive an email request such as this, please notify me immediately before taking any action.
THE BOTTOM LINE
If an email even looks slightly suspicious, don’t click on any links or reply to it. Feel free to contact me or escrow. Protect yourself against these bastards.