A man in Portland, Oregon lost $123,000 after falling victim to a real-estate scam, according to Michele Lerner at The Washington Post. In December, Aaron Cole and his family were about to buy a new house through WFG National Title Insurance Company.
Shortly before the deal was supposed to take place, Cole received an email that purported to come from WFG which told him to wire the $123,000 down payment to a different address. Cole complied, and the money was laundered through multiple banks and sent out of the country before anyone realized it had been sent to a scammer.
Fortunately, WFG hired Cole as a spokesperson to raise awareness about cybercrime and scams, and he was able to purchase the house. Many others who fall for these scams aren’t so lucky. You should never rely solely on email correspondence when making a transaction.
Always call a company or meet with a representative in person to ensure that a transaction is legitimate before wiring funds. “If you receive last minute instructions with different information than what you were initially given or are asked to transfer money quickly, those should be red flags that could indicate a scam attempt,” writes Lerner.
Attackers are getting better at inserting themselves into legitimate deals and hijacking funds. New-school security awareness training can help your employees recognize red flags and respond appropriately.