How to Protect Yourself from real estate scams
Real estate scams are becoming more rampant, and there is a need for you to stay vigilant and not fall into the traps of real estate scammers. They can scam anyone, and it’s the funniest thing you will ever read today.
Recently, the F.B.I. even disclosed that real estate transactions are a growing target of wire fraud. In this article, we shared some excellent and easy ways to fight back with the help of Helium forensics, a fund recovery company based in Australia. To better help you understand how this scam operates, we shared a recent story of someone who almost got scammed by these real estate scams.
Justin Rubinstein had a license as an associate real estate broker at Compass. He was working to close on a one-bedroom condo on the Williamsburg waterfront in June of 2016 with a buyer. As they were finalizing the deal, the client gets an email — supposedly from his lawyer — providing precise instructions of where to wire a $214,500 down payment.
Almost immediately after sending the money, the client realized that the wiring instructions were not from his lawyer. Instead, a scammer was sending the email, and he was a victim of wire fraud. But, the client was lucky. He informs his bank to freeze the account before the banks did the transfer immediately.
“The criminals operating were able to hack into the attorney’s email and monitoring their account, following deals closely,” Mr. Rubinstein says. “When it was time to send a wire for the down payment, they intercepted the email. They sent fraudulent wire instructions to the buyer.”
How does the scammer operate?
The real estate industry is moving at a fast-pace. As a result, people share emails with very sensitive financial information with little or no face-to-face interaction. These scammers now have a sophisticated wire fraud scheme. They hack into and closely monitor the email exchanges of the parties involved in the real estate transactions.
At the 11th hour, scammers can pretend to be participants and ask that the buyer wires down payment funds to fraudulent bank accounts. Since they spend weeks intercepting personal information, they can customize and craft extremely compelling email requests.
“Many players participate in these transactions,” James Abbott, a supervisory special agent for the F.B.I.’s criminal investigative division, says. “It can be the real estate agent or the real estate lawyer, an escrow company, buyer, and even the seller — there are a lot of potential targets.”
Some steps to recover your money from a real estate scam
Once you realize that you are a fraudulent transfer victim, it is crucial to act immediately. Quickly contact your financial institution and ask for a recall of funds. If you use a money transfer company, like Western Union or MoneyGram, call their complaint line right away. Better still, visit any effective fund recovery company like Helium Forensics to help you quickly recover your lost fund either in Bitcoin or wire transfer.
You can as well, contact your local police office to file an official report with law enforcement. You can at least file an online complaint with the bureau’s internet crime complaint center. If your bank needs a police report, use a copy” of the online complaint.
If you prefer to fight back and be in control, you can hire a recovery expert like Helium forensics to help you recover stolen funds. Visit their website to learn more about this process – www.heliumforensics.com.
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