A wire transfer fraud that initially targeted business leaders is now targeting homebuyers.
The scam, called "business email compromise" (BEC), started out hacking the computers of business leaders and collecting information on company billing practices, including payees and common amounts paid. The cybercriminals would then send a bill, claiming to be from one of the organization's payees with instructions to send a wire transfer to a fraudulent bank account.
In the latest version of the BEC scam, fraudsters hack into an escrow company's computers to steal the email addresses of their current customers. The hackers then send the customers authentic-looking emails requesting that a wire transfer be made immediately into a bank account that the hackers can access.
In order to gain access to a U.S. bank account, fraudsters will often romance victims on a dating website, eventually asking them to accept a wire transfer to their personal bank account. If they agree, it enables the cybercriminals to remove money from their account.
BEC scammers have already stolen $5.4 billion worldwide, and they are now stealing $5.3 million a month from homebuyers. Kerri Zane "The Shocking New Scam You Need To Know About: Money Transfers" www.forbes.com (Apr. 16, 2018).