Nearly lost entire house downpayment to a scammer: Verify your wires!

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by tealcosmo

I narrowly avoided being scammed out of the entire amount of my house downpayment by a fraudulent email that looked very similar to an email that my lawyer would send. It looked so good, all the right details where there. I was even talking about the last closing details with the lender this morning.

I scheduled the wire but then realized my “something is fishy” internal alarm was going off. I called the lawyers office and confirmed that the account number on the wire transfer information was not their account, and that they hadn’t sent me wire instructions. The scammer had nearly every critical detail about the house closing in the “Closing Disclosure”. The right “From:” name on the email, but I noticed that the email address was not from my lawyer’s domain. Once I confirmed that this was a scam, I had a VERY tense few minutes calling the bank to try to stop the wire transfer from completing. Thankfully I got the wire canceled before it was sent.

I learned a very valuable lesson today. Never wire money without calling the main office to confirm, even if all the details look correct in the email. If that wire had gone out to the scammer, the house closing would have to be canceled, and I would be out major money. Once a wire has left the building, it’s gone.

Now I get to investigate and escalate a MAJOR breach of information somewhere between my lawyer and the lender’s office working on this file. Turns out the Disclosure form they sent me was the EXACT disclosure form that my lawyer shared with the bank yesterday… So something is breached.

Verify your wires. Listen to the little voice that says “something is fishy”.

FUCK, that was close guys.

Edit: Also locked my credit for the time being. I asked the lender if they need it again and they said no.

Edit: I know it wasn’t my email that was compromised because they used a document I hadn’t received up to that point. It was only sent between the lender and the lawyer. I also use the best email security I know how to: 2FA with Authenticator (not sms), one time codes in my safe if I ever lose my phone, strong unique password that I rotate regularly and is managed by 1password.


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