Warning to the real estate industry: a widespread fraud is currently underway that could cost you and your client tens, or even hundreds, of thousands of dollars. The Scam The scam is simple: the scammer obtains access to an email account of an individual in the real estate industry with information concerning pending transactions, including agents, brokers, escrow officers, lenders or title insurers. The scammer then secretly observes all emails to and from the compromised email account, waiting for the opportunity to assume the identity of a party to the transaction for the purpose of sending fraudulent wire instructions. Spoofing Once the scammer realizes that a party is ready to wire funds, the scammer assumes the identity of a party to the real estate transaction. This may be done by emailing the wiring party (e.g. buyer or lender) from a domain name (e.g., [email protected]
) that appears very similar to the legitimate domain name ([email protected]
), or simply from the compromised email account.