Internet Scammers Steal $77,000 From Treasure Coast Family In Real Estate Closing Scam

treasure coastIt was love at first sight for Susan Spofford and her Treasure Coast family. They fell in love with a property in Jensen Beach was just right for her family.

She remembers:

We walked in and it was perfect.

Spofford bought the home with her boyfriend, mother, sister and brother-in-law, Larry Beach. They were overjoyed when their offer was accepted. Everything was proceeding smoothly until they received shocking news. 

Treasure Coast Family Shocked When Closing Lawyer Asked For A $77,000 Check

treasure coastThey felt like the process was running smoothly until it came time to close. At the closing table, their real estate attorney asked for $77,000 for closing costs.

The Treasure Coast family thought they already paid that money. Susan Spofford told CBS12 what happened next:

The lawyer’s secretary came in and said, ‘Do you have the check?’ And my brother-in-law said ‘Check? What Check?”

Beach told them he already wired the closing costs to the secretary. He pulled up emails from what he thought was their law office giving him instructions to wire the payment at a nearby bank.

When the law office confirmed they never received a payment. Beach soon realized he had wired the money to a scammer.

How The Treasure Coast Family Was Scammed

treasure coastBeach soon realized he was tricked by a sophisticated email hacker. He received an email from someone claiming to be his real estate attorney’s secretary several hours after his loan was approved.

That email sender asked Beach to wire transfer the funds for the closing right away to avoid a delay. 

The sender told Beach:

I will be busy with limited access to my phone. Send me an email if you need anything else.

On the surface, the email appears to be legitimate. The sender’s display name matched the name of their attorney’s secretary.

The email had the right logo and contact information in the signature. It also appeared that the sender even copied their real estate agent on the email.

Everything seemed to check out. So Beach wrote back and later received wiring instructions.

He went to a nearby bank and sent the $77,000. However, upon closer examination, it’s clear that the wiring instructions came from a scammer.

When you click on the display names in the email, the addresses are close, but not a perfect match to the secretary and real estate agent’s addresses.

A scammer spoofed them. Someone involved in the loan process was either involved in the scam or had been hacked.

The good news for the Treasure Coast family is that they were able to come up with the money for closing costs at the last minute. They were still able to move into their dream home in Jensen Beach.

They’re grateful the scam didn’t cost them the house — but they don’t expect to see their $77,000 again.

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