Scam Alert: Call Before You Wire Funds
In a common scam, an email account is hacked (it could be broker’s, escrow’s, or consumer’s email). The hacker monitors the account, waiting for the time when the consumer must wire funds. Broker, escrow, and consumer have no knowledge they are being monitored. The hacker, impersonating broker or escrow, instructs the consumer to wire funds immediately. The wire instructions are for an account controlled by the hacker. These instructions often create a sense of urgency and explain that the broker or escrow officer cannot be reached by phone so any follow-up must be by email. When the consumer replies to this email, their email is diverted to the hacker. The consumer wires the funds, which are then stolen by the hacker with no recourse for the consumer.
Never wire funds without first calling the known phone number for your broker or escrow and confirming the wire instructions. Do not rely upon email communications.