There is a scam that has gone rampant, all across the country…hackers that intercept wire instructions, then take that money. This has been happening to lawyers, realtors and title companies and now consumers. If it happens to you….call us!
SARASOTA, Fla. (WFLA) — A Sarasota home buyer is out $51,133 for a down payment on a home, after a computer hacker apparently broke into her real estate agent’s email account and manipulated wire transfer instructions, rerouting the money to the crook’s bank account.
Sheryl Johnson is devastated and says she was told she must quickly come with the money again or she will be unable to close on the Bradenton home this week.
“This is my life’s savings,” said Johnson, who is a nurse and single mother. “I am in shock.”
Even more shocking, she said, is that local police sent her to the FBI, and she says she still has not heard back whether they are investigating. This incident occurred Aug. 19.
“No one seems interested in helping me,” she said.
This theft occurred after Johnson received an email from her real estate agent, Elizabeth Newgard, of Boyd Realty in Bradenton. She was expecting the wire transfer instructions and printed out the information and took it to her bank, Wells Fargo. She now knows that a scammer apparently changed the bank account and recipient’s name on the instructions and then sent it to Johnson.
Since the email came from Newgard’s email address, she didn’t question anything. The money was wired to a bank account at Bank of America and now that account has been closed.