7/23/17 Radio Show: Wire Fraud of Funds

Real Estate

Todays Radio Show TOPIC: Off Shore Hackers and Wire fraud scams

Buyers and seller must be aware of fishing scams created by criminals targeting title company and realtor  emails

These hackers set up systems to  re route and steel buyers wired funds)

Aside from health, one of the worst things someone can tell you is ..your money was stolen.... today's TOPIC is a huge news alert...
Wire Fraud is rampant and this can hit anyone.This is a very difficult lesson learned.
A few days before a closing a buyers agent NOT ME asked the attorney's title company for wire instructions so she can inform her clients where to wire the funds for a house they were buying.

The agent got an email from the title company with detailed wire instructions.
The agent passed these instructions on to her buyer.
They have a super good relationship,
she's bought and sold many houses for them,
so they complexity trusted her.
everything was going great.
they don't think twice about following the email instructions.
They get to the closing table and the title company says they didn't receive the money.
The buyer turns to their agent and says, "I did exactly what you said, I sent the money where your email said to."
Well, what happened is the agent's email was hacked.

Scammers stalk title companies and realtors just for this purpose.
So these scammers intercepted the email from the title company and altered the bank depository numbers.
and the bottom line is, the email the agent sent to her clients was an altered version of the email she got from the title company.
And the 200K wired to the title company was stolen and gone forever.

Hackers are very clever, (to make matters even worse) sometimes they will send a confirmation email to the buyers from a slightly altered email address that totally resembles the agents email address saying the wire was successful!
A buyer will think all is good. 
Have you ever gotten an email from an address that looks exactly like your email address?
 but maybe a number zero is replaced with a capital letter 0?

So, here's an important message to anyone sending money... call the recipient, get verbal instructions,
then call them back after you send the wire and
make sure it went through.
Don't ask your realtor to get involved with wire transfers.
It's not our responsibility or our roll.
Actually, it's not even legal for a realtor to be involved in transferring their client's money.
Buyers and sellers if your realtor sends you wire instructions, don't trust it. It may not really be from them.

But f this does happen to you, if it's discovered fast, it may be traceable. But it has to be caught quickly. My (not so kidding) recommendation is to call the FBI.

Also, buyers, your realtor should be asking you to sign a FDIC wire fraud disclosure letting you know that this stuff is happening.

This can happen whether it's a cash deal or a mortgage. 
Hackers are changing depository information. 
You need to be very hands on when transferring money these days.

The long and short of it is:
hackers are setting up systems to re route and steal money.
In this case, an email was intercepted and altered.

Buyers, I cannot emphasize enough ...
Never trust wiring instructions sent via email.
Cyber criminals are hacking email accounts and sending emails with fake wiring instructions.
These emails are convincing and sophisticated.
Always independently confirm wiring instructions in person or via a phone call to a trusted and verified phone number.
Never wire money without double-checking that the wiring instructions are correct.

You're all probably wondering what happened to the buyers? They were able to wire additional funds and close on the house, but they are suing the agent.

 

In Closing: 
Never send wired funds without confirming with the recipient its destination and its immediately after it's arrival. 
you can find the FDIC disclosure document on my website northshorehomepro.com

Email me for a copy of the Fraudulent Wiring Instructions and FDIC Coverage Disclosure