Realtor saves client from losing thousands of dollars to con artists
September 14, 2018 06:20 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – A housing scam spotted just in time saved an Albuquerque homebuyer from losing thousands of dollars to con artists.
It was supposed to be the last step this homebuyer needed to take. Paul was already at the bank and ready to send the money for his down payment until he realized something was wrong.
“My heart sank and, thank God I verified, because…I was about to initiate the wire transfer which puts me at full liability and full risk. I would not get any of that money back,” Paul said.
It all started when he got an email fishing for information.
“Please acknowledge that you received my last email regarding wire transfer,” the email stated.
“I had not received the email," Paul said. "I checked my junk folders, everything, so I responded back and I said, 'I hadn't received your email, please resend.' And that's when they sent me back wiring instructions.”
Those instructions asked for more than $10,000, and said that money needed to be transferred that same day. The emails had the name of his realtor and a phone number that was only one digit of separation from hers.
“I was at the bank doing a wire transfer and had a question, so I called my real estate agent,” Paul said.
She immediately told him to stop everything he was doing.
“I called him and he explained to me he had received an email and it looked like it had come from me," Linda Martinez said.
Paul said he was shocked at how convincing the email appeared.
“This is happening a lot," Martinez said. "We've seen it off and on, but when it happens to you, you realize it's really horrifying.”
She said that's why some relators are even including a warning in the listing agreements.
“These schemes are going on all over the place; both in real estate, and, I'm sure, other transactions as well. Be very cautious,” Martinez warned.
Both the realtor and homebuyer are warning people that if they get a message like the one Paul received, double-check every piece of information so you don't fall for this scam.
Updated: September 14, 2018 06:20 PM
Created: September 14, 2018 06:08 PM
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