Hackers targeting home buyers, scamming people out of thousands

WGN Investigates

Hackers are targeting real estate wire transfers to scam people out of hundreds of thousands of dollars, and its now one of the fastest growing internet scams in the world.

Karen Rhoades was about to close on the purchase of an Indiana farm when she received an e-mail saying that wire instructions had changed. Hackers intercepted her title company's e-mail. She didn’t realize what was done until she was sitting at the closing table and had already wired the money.

"The girl asked me at the title company, 'Let me see your transaction form.' And so I gave it to her and instantly she said, 'Oh my God where did you get this from?' And I said this was sent from the auctioneer and from you guys and she said, 'No that’s not our bank, Karen.'” Rhoades said.

Rhoades was one of the lucky consumers who was able to get her money back. The Federal Bureau of Investigations has created a task force to look into these cases. In 2017, it’s estimated that there were 15,000 cases in the U.S. totaling $670 million.

For information on how to prevent becoming a target visit ic3.gov.