Hackers Scam Homebuyers Out of Millions

Got this email from my broker:

New data released by the FBI states that in fiscal year 2017 nearly $1 billion ($969 million) was rerouted
or attempted to be rerouted from real estate purchase transactions. This figure is up from fiscal year
2016 in which the FBI counted $19 million in wire transfer frauds affecting homebuyers.

Home buyers are the most vulnerable due to the home-purchase money being wired to complete
closing transactions.

The scam is simple yet devastatingly effective:

  1. Hackers find an opening into title company or realty agent’s email account. They then track
    upcoming home purchases scheduling to close escrow.

  2. They assume the identity of the title agency person handling the transaction posing as title or escrow officer.

  3. The email of the title or escrow officer is hijacked and instructs the homebuyer to wire the funds
    needed to close to the hacker’s own bank account instead of the legitimate account.

  4. The hackers then withdraw the money and disappear.

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:scream: :scream: :scream:

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That’s why you should use a Cashier’s check every time.


I know someone that is happened to in Nevada.
Go down to your title company and pay personally with
a cashiers check

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Hackers spotted in Bay Area. :scream:

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Not surprising. US is way behind when it comes to financial stuff.

Sounds like a business opportunity for someone.

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Is by design. Americans distrust government so much that any hint of government involvement they would object. Many such safeguards have to be implemented by the government.

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I only use cashiers checks and take them to the title companies personally. My wife refuses to pay wire fees


In my last transaction, title company sent me wire transfer instruction through secured document warning about fraud.
My agent recommended chashiers check. I ended up using cashiers check. The scale of damage is quite scary…

I used to wire a lot. Now that this happened, perhaps I should stop doing so…

We were handed the wire instructions in person when I dropped off our check for our earnest money. Their thing is simply that they ask that you call the company and make sure the instructions you got were correct. Handing them to me in person was a sure thing.

I don’t think I could drive safely if I had a cashier’s check for the amount of money we needed to close in my car…

I just do it by cashiers check. Ask them to put the title company, escrow info etc on the check. Drive it down the block to the title company. Get a scanned receipt from them. And done

What id they also gice a phone number to phish you even more?

I think the right way is doing it online. Post it part of mls, publicly. Create an obline service linking there.

Right–the hackers would have to grab your office phone. Not impossible but harder.

Post it online means that MLS can be hacked. In person is definitely safe… Unless someone is hanging out there handing out false wire instructions :slight_smile:

Where do you get the phone number? What if it was part of the email?

Authentication. Email and phone.
Small sum transfer e.g. earnest money.
Then bigger sum.

Title company should have a receive only line for authentication.

Website… could be hacked

Google…Could be hacked.

Email…COuld be hacked.

MLS…Could be hacked.

Realtor…Could be hacked.

In fact, maybe the address for the title company could be fake. Someone could setup a business today and be gone tomorrow… with your money. But they could take your cashier’s check too.

Clearly the only solution here is never to buy a house.