Crime

ALERT: A SICK New Email Scam Is Going Around And It’s Robbing People Blind!

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As long as email has been around for mass public consumption, there has been a scam floating around somewhere. Home buyers have become a target for an elaborate email scam that could wipe out their savings. KPIX reported that hackers gain access to the email accounts of realtors and wait for the perfect time to strike.

Realtor Kristina Solovieva, from the San Francisco Bay Area, was a target and didn’t even know it. Like other realtors, Solovieva uses email to communicate with clients. Hackers gained access to her Gmail email account and monitored her correspondence. When the timing was right, the hackers stepped in.

“The timing was impeccable, actually,” Solovieva told KPIX. “It was time to send the remainder of the down payment to close escrow.”

Hackers told Solovieva’s clients to wire hundreds of thousands of dollars to a fraudulent account. The National Association of Realtors, along with the FBI, have issued warnings of such email scams that target the real estate industry.

“The hackers often send an email that appears to be from an individual legitimately involved in the transaction, informing the recipient, often the buyer, that there has been a last minute change to the wiring instructions,” the association said. That’s what happened with Solovieva’s clients.

“They’d been watching us all along and reading all of our correspondence,” said Solovieva.

Luckily, the amount of money the hackers were asking her clients to send was slightly off, and they called Solovieva, which led them to realize they were being scammed.

Unfortunately, Solovieva’s case is not isolated, and a Minnesota couple wasn’t so lucky. KARE reported that they lost more than $200,000 in a similar email scam.

Matt Fuller of the San Francisco Association of Realtors said that the scams are not limited to realtors.

“It can be the agent’s email, it can be the title company, it can be a lender, it can be a transaction coordinator,” Fuller told KPIX. “It’s a nationwide phenomenon, unfortunately.”

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