Here are a couple of examples of the types of email you may receive from criminals attempting to steal funds for a real estate transaction.
Sometimes the email address looks correct, but the “reply-to,” which isn’t displayed in most email programs, can be masked or undisclosed, and can lead to unfamiliar or personal email domains. Note the use of the gmx.com domain, which is notorious in this type of scheme.
From: [Name] <[actual email address]>
Please I need you to do a quick wire transfer to a local bank for me. Get back at me with the info you need to do the wire transfer.
Here’s an example of a spoofed inter-office email attempting to get an employee to change wiring information.
From: [Name] <[name]@gmx.com>
To: [Internal Employee email]
Subject: Urgent – proceeds
Seller wants proceeds wired to their trading account how can you help?
In the following example, the agent had an email address that incorporated the company domain, but the “from” was a Gmail address designed to make the recipient think it was a legitimate correspondence. In addition, two digits of the phone number in the email signature line were transposed.
From: [Agent Name] <[agent-name]@gmail.com>
Subject: Urgent – regarding [Listing Address]
To move forward on [address] we need to have the money wired immediately. Once you wire [amount] to [wiring instructions] I will call you. I am in a meeting and will not be available to talk until I call you later.
Contact ALTA at 202-296-3671 or firstname.lastname@example.org.