Buying a Home? Be Aware of The Latest Real Estate Scam
Closing on a new house is very exciting, but it’s also busy and expensive. It also could make you very vulnerable to hackers who know there is a lot of money on the line.
Susan Spofford found the perfect property. She and her family made an offer on the house, and then the bomb dropped: the real estate attorney they were working with asked them for $77,000 in closing costs…but, they had already paid it.
Spofford tells the story about how her stomach fell when she was asked, “Do you have the check?” The family had already wired the money to the office, so they were very confused. The law office checked, and there was no payment. It was then that they realized what happened: they had given the money to a scammer.
The family had received an email just hours after the loan was approved. The email claimed to be from the law office and stated that they could wire the money. It had a logo, the correct names, and even looked like it was copied to their attorney. Since it looked so real, the family felt confident about wiring the cash, and they went to the bank and sent it.
Looking back, however, there were several things about the email that they noticed after the fact. For instance, the email address was almost perfect, but it had a different letter in the real estate agent’s email address. In other words, it looked good, but it wasn’t.
Real Estate Scams are Rising
This isn’t the only case of home buyers losing thousands, and scams like this are definitely on the rise. In fact, in 2018, approximately 20,000 people were victims of similar scams, and they lost almost $1.3 billion dollars.
If you are buying a home, you should take these words of warning: educate yourself. The best thing to do before making a wire transfer is to verify that the person you are sending the money to is whom you think it is. You should also make sure that the email address is correct and that there isn’t anything off with the letters, i.e. Michael@lendernetwork.com vs Micheal@lendernetwork.com.
The good news for the Spofford family is that they were able to come up with the money to close on their house, but the bad news is that they probably won’t ever see that $77,000 again. Don’t let yourself get into the same situation.