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Compromised Email Account

Just before Christmas, Shane and Jean were completing the sale of their first home. Between wedding gifts and savings they had saved a substantial deposit. Shane received an email from their attorney asking him to transfer the balance of the deposit for their new home to a holding account in order to secure, and complete, the transfer of their property. Shane duly did so that day.

A couple of days later Shane’s attorney called to notify Shane of a breach in the company’s system. The attorney’s email account had been hacked and compromised, and the attorney advised that if Shane received any emails from the attorney’s account to please ignore it. Unfortunately it was too late for Shane. The money was transferred.

Shane immediately called his Bank as his life savings and future home were at risk. While the bank was extremely helpful, there was nothing they could do as Shane had authorized the transaction and they confirmed the transfer had reached another bank account.

However, Shane was in luck as the bank where the funds had been received noticed the large transfer which raised alarm bells. This account was a red flag as it had never received large sums like this before from another bank in such a way.  Given this irregularity, they reported it to their fraud department, leading them to freeze half the funds.

This meant they could return the remaining funds to Shane. Both Shane and the two banks reported the details to the police.

In the excitement of closing the sale Shane never thought to check the email by calling his attorney’s office, confirming the request and the bank account details. While in this case Shane and Jean were fortunate to receive even half of the money back, they still lost 50% of their savings for their house deposit.

How to avoid this type of scam:

  • Always verify payment details with your attorney, or another supplier, verbally either face to face or via a call their office.
  • Don’t ever send your personal banking details via email.

eFraud Prevention™, LLC