Fraud Scheme Alert for Florida Real Estate Professionals

Reblogger Kevin J. May
Real Estate Agent with Florida Supreme Realty SL514814

The longer you're in this business the more scams you'll come across. Granted, there is a lot of money at stake in Real Estate and it is open game for the unscrupulous. This action will roll across the Country in due time. Take heed!

Original content by Rei Mesa 405188

Florida Real Estate Alert

Underwriters working with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Florida Realty sent an alert concerning a recent fraud scheme that has affected real estate professionals and title agents in Florida.

The scheme works like this:

Realtor’s email accounts (often Gmail or Hotmail accounts) are hacked into without their knowledge.

Then, the scammers continuously search the emails for discussions of upcoming closings.

When they have learned enough about the upcoming closings (such as the amount of the deposit, name of one or both parties, the identity of the entity holding the deposit), they strike!

The fraudsters send an email to the agent or buyer posing as the title company, and state that new wire instructions are attached for closing. This email appears genuine in every way.  It will have the title agents normal signature, links to their social media pages, and show the title agent as the sender, with only a slight variation in the email address. They will even ask that you respond to THAT email to confirm receipt.

This email will also often have attachments that look legitimate (e.g. the escrow disclosure and agreement or the purchase and sales contract) which match the documents in your file but with routing instructions for the fraudsters bank, typically out of the country.

The underwriters have suggested the following to avoid becoming a victim. 

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Rainmaker
2,559,507
Rebecca Gaujot, Realtor®
Vision Quest Realty - Lewisburg, WV
Lewisburg WV, the go to agent for all real estate

Thanks for posting this alert. I have heard of these fraud schemes.

Jul 25, 2016 09:08 AM #1
Rainmaker
1,680,021
Larry Johnston
Broker, Friends & Neighbors Real Estate and Elkhart County Subdivisions, LLC - Elkhart, IN
Broker,Friends & Neighbors Real Estate, Elkhart,IN

Hi Kevin J. May ,  I have been alerted to the scam, but didn't know what the procedure was that thhey were using.  Thanks for the information.

Jul 25, 2016 12:12 PM #2
Rainmaker
4,798,663
Gabe Sanders
Real Estate of Florida specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales - Stuart, FL
Stuart Florida Real Estate

Thanks for the warning Kevin.  I have read about this scam and I am doing all I can to prevent this from happening with any of my customers.

Jul 27, 2016 09:45 PM #3
Rainmaker
5,819,090
Roy Kelley
Realty Group Referrals - Gaithersburg, MD

This is a good selection for a reblog and a reminder to be alert for scams.

Jul 28, 2016 10:35 PM #4
Ambassador
3,985,140
Debbie Reynolds
Platinum Properties - Clarksville, TN
Your Dedicated Clarksville TN Real Estate Agent

The title companies now send the disclosures through secured websites thank goodness. This is so sad and could be extremely devastating to a new homebuyer or seller.

Jul 30, 2016 12:44 PM #5
Rainmaker
2,163,243
Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes

Hi Kevin - I would not trust unsecured emails.  That is to Debbie's point above.

Jul 31, 2016 04:53 AM #6
Rainmaker
1,816,979
Ginny Gorman
RI Real Estate Services ~ 401-529-7849~ RI Waterfront Real Estate - North Kingstown, RI
Homes for Sale in Southern RI and beyond

Kevin, I caught up with this and I do believe it is happening in other states too...good alert.

Jul 31, 2016 09:41 PM #7
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Kevin J. May

Serving the Treasure & Paradise Coasts of Florida
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