Term Real Estate Money Transfer Scam Reporting
Code FN-1700.6970
Definition Programs that provide a hotline or other mechanisms that people can use to report scams which involve the theft of the large sums of money that change hands when people purchase a new home. The scams often start with a "spear phishing" email to the realtor or title agent involved in the sale which can result malware being installed that permits the thief to monitor all email exchanges. The thief watches the normal flow of business until a suitably large transaction is found. When the home purchase is just about to close, the thief sends email messages from the infected PC to the buyer that appear to be from the realtor. The spoofed email contains detailed information such as transaction sums, bank names, seller names and other data that convince the buyer of the email's authenticity. In the final step, the spoofed message instructs the buyer to wire the funds in order to begin the transaction. The buyer does as instructed, but instead of going to the title company or to an account held by the seller, the money is sent to an account controlled by the thieves. In some percentage of cases, the victim is saved by delays instituted by banks in an effort to control money laundering. If the victim acts very quickly, it is possible to stop the transfer, but in most cases the money is transferred to a foreign bank account beyond the reach of the legal system and is never seen again. Individuals who are asked to pay or move a large sum of money should always verify the transaction in person or by phone.
Created 11/8/18
Changed 9/29/20
Use References Money Transfer Fraud Reporting
See Also References
External Classification Terms Law Enforcement (UW
Law Enforcement (NTE I60)
Law Enforcement Agencies (NPC I04)
Legal, Consumer and Public Safety Services (AIRS LE-450)
Legal/Public Safety (CAN LP-450)
Related Concepts Cybercrime
Facet Service
Bibliographic References "Real Estate Scams Are Growing", https://www.tripwire.com/state-of-security/featured/real-estate-scams-growing/

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