Almost lost $1.2 million in 60 seconds
Updated: Mar 10
Okay a quick, but important post, specifically for anyone sending money over the internet.
I just got off the phone with a real estate investor I know personally, I've never seen her this shook up.
She told me of an extremely disturbing and scary experience she just had doing an online deal that included all financial transactions taking place online.
She had just sold one of her properties (fix n flip) and was in the process of purchasing a rental property on a 1031 exchange. All was going well, the sale, the documentation, all the way up to escrow.
This is where things changed and she did not have a clue (might I add after listening I don't think too many of us would have noticed either), the money from her sale had already ben transferred to the Escrow company (so far so good), the next day she gets an email form escrow they are ready to send payment for the new property, could she please review the email and if all is correct to go ahead and transfer the money. (sounds okay, right?), well she confirmed as requested and hit send, (now here is where I give kudos to the financial person working at the bank), the bank received the transfer request, but to the banker something didn't add up, the payment was (get this) $5 off, so they immediately called her to confirm this was her requesting the transfer of $1.2 million, so she said, "yes, this is my request", but a little curious she called the escrow agent, and low and behold when she told the agent that there was a slight difference is payment, the agent immediately told her "don't send that payment".
Why, because the email was a fake email and was not from the escrow agent, someone, somehow was tracking her online, and had made a fake email, and here is why it was hard to catch, they had fake logos (easy to do), but what they did was they changed the email by one letter, yes one letter, and then she told the agent, but they have an 800 number to call, well yes they do, and guess what they know its you and will tell you its all legit. The escrow agent told her to only send certified checks that can be cancelled, so from now on she is.
So guys, this must scare you, just based off of the simplicity of such a scam. Always call your banker, agent or escrow company to confirm payments and even better send certified, cancelable checks. She was shook up, because she was 1 minute away from losing $1.2 million.