A family in Queensland had their life savings taken from them after falling victim to an email scam that targets businesses and people looking to buy property.
Penny Davies and Mitch Wilson were defrauded out of tens of thousands of dollars despite their belief that they had discovered the ideal home on the Gold Coast in advance of the birth of their second child.
Wilson said, “We got an email from the real estate agent we had been dealing with saying in light of the contract please transfer money to this account.” The email came from the real estate agent’s email account.
The couple deposited $39,000 into the bank account that was offered to them.
However, later on, they received a phone call from their agency informing them that the money had not been received.
“We went back and forth, we traded screenshots and emails from their side and ours, and what was evident is that the money didn’t go where it was meant to go, which was their account,” Wilson said. “We went back and forth, we exchanged screenshots and emails from their side and ours.”
“(It) wound up in the account of some con artist, and then it moved offshore to a cryptocurrency account.”
Davies claims that in a single moment, years’ worth of revenue were wiped out.
“I hear that over and over in my head all the time,” she added. “It’s like a broken record.”
According to the authorities, Wilson and Davies are the most recent people to fall prey to a technique that compromises email accounts.
It is believed that cybercriminals, including hackers, have secretly taken control of the email accounts of organisations, including real estate agents.
The hackers change the bank account numbers that are used for payments, and they send the invoice back to the victim once it has been received.
The couple’s real estate agent, Matt Wilson of Sold Street Real Estate, has severed all ties with them and is no longer communicating with them in any way.
Despite the fact that the couple had been evicted from their home, the company was able to make a profit from the sale of their property in the tens of thousands of dollars range.
The heartbroken couple has been left with no financial support from Matt Wilson, who has refused to pay any portion of his commision.