It’s a nightmare scenario for any homebuyer: the day before closing, a scammer manages to trick you into wiring your down payment to an offshore account. You lose your hard-earned money and you lose the house, and there’s no way you can get either one back.
That’s how some criminals have adapted the common “business email compromise” scam – so-named because it used to almost exclusively target businesses – to focus on individuals, especially people who are involved in a pending real estate transaction.
CNBC spoke with two victims of this type of crime who wished to remain anonymous. They were devastated to lose six-figure sums, their dream homes and in one case, the bulk of the individual’s life savings.