Buyer Loses 70K with Wiring Scam!

Real Estate Agent with Coldwell Banker Select

Here's how it went down, I have actually changed the numbers slightly, I don't want to talk specifically about names, amounts, banks involved. I had actually read something about this and then I heard about a specific instance where it happened to a local agent.

1) The agent emails the buyer the wiring instructions.

2) Within nine minutes, a hacker intercepts the email, sends another email to the buyer impersonating the agent. (actually using the agents' email!) instructing the buyer to wire to a different address.

3) The buyer instructs her bank to wire to the new wiring address, so she actually instructs her bank to wire to the hacker's bank account!

4) The bank puts a partial hold on the wire, but the buyer is out $70,000 and as the bank did nothing other than follow the buyer's instruction, the buyer probably has no way to recoup this money.

*Imagine any buyer, the day before close rushing around with twenty things on the to do list and stressed out and wanting to get things done, trusting an agent's email and just going ahead and doing this. That probably describes 95% of us.

*If you are a buyer, pause, think it through. Call the agent, call the Title Company directly and verify.

*A Title Company that I spoke with advises agents not to get involved with sending out wiring instructions. Title Companies send out encrypted emails.

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Comments (3)

Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi Peter

I'm glad you shared this, since we are hearing more and more about this particular scam, and of buyers who have lost money. The more we can educate ourselves and our clients, the better.

Have a wonderful weekend!


Feb 26, 2016 04:22 AM
Ashley Sanders
Golf Life Properties - Golden Gate, FL
Real Estate Sales


I read aboutthis a few days ago, too. It's scary stuff! Thanks for posting and Happy Friday!

Feb 26, 2016 04:26 AM
Peter Tamura
Coldwell Banker Select - Tulsa, OK

Hi Jeff,

It's scary when you think how easily this could happen! It might be good to just mention it to your buyer as closing date approaches.

Ashley, thanks for your comment and happy Friday to you too, although for us, it's like a Monday! : )

Feb 26, 2016 04:57 AM