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February 06, 2015

Corrupted Email Account Leads to Major Financial Real Estate Scam in Stamford

Bridgeport police are currently in custody of a Tennessee man who tried to swindle a woman out of $150,000 in an online real estate scam.

The trouble started in October 2014 when a 26-year-old woman began working with a local real estate agent to purchase a home in Stamford. The woman made an offer and a deposit on a home, but was later told that the owners had reconsidered and the deal fell through.

A week after this occurred, the buyer received an email—falsely identifying the sender as her realtor—indicating that the deal was back on. She was instructed to resubmit her payments in order to secure the sale contract. At least six subsequent payments totaling $150,000 were made toward finalizing the transaction.

The payments, however, were not going to the real estate company. Unbeknownst to both the victim and her real estate company, they were going to a 49-year-old man from Murfreesboro, Tennessee. Investigators eventually resolved that the scam stemmed from corruption to the realtor’s email account, which allowed the criminal to assume the agent’s identity and collect payments.

Unfortunately for the victim, at least $110,000 of the deposited money was sent to an overseas account in China. The investigation is still open, and police are trying to track down the remaining funds that are still missing.

Here’s the scary part: As a business owner, this problem sort of crime could just as easily happen to you or one of your customers. This example shows that email hacking can be used for more than spreading malware or collecting personal information; it can result in major financial consequences, and can severely impact customer relations.

So, how do you prevent your email from being hacked? Invest in a hosted email service that will manage and protect your account. You will still be able to manage your email from any Web browser, computer or mobile device. Your security, however, will be ensured through the services of a dedicated team of IT professionals.

Click here to learn more about how Apex managed IT services in Norwalk, CT, can help. 

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