New cyber-fraud that can leave homebuyers penniless

MATAWAN, New Jersey -- The scam starts with an email that seems innocent, but is timed to the minute and even fooled experts.

It was a couple's dream - closing on newlyweds' Jackie and Jimmy Moore's first home.

"It's like a bad dream, like it really didn't happen," Jimmy Moore said after realizing that their down payment on their home, more than $139,000, had been taken in seconds.

The Moores are victims of a new, six-figure cyber scam that began with a simple email sent to their real estate attorney.

The e-mail appears to be from their title company a day before their closing, abruptly changing the bank and account number where they buyers should wire their closing costs and deposit. And even though he called his real estate attorney to confirm the bank account info, Moore was still out his down payment.

The Moores' attorney made a big mistake, never calling his contact at the title company to verify the change. In the meantime, Moore went straight to their bank and wired all their money to a fraudulent account.

They then had to surrender their keys and move out. Now homeless, they moved back to Staten Island to stay with Jackie Moore's parents.

"It's hit me what's really happening, that everything we planned for is over," she said.

So 7 On Your Side got involved, reaching out to all parties involved in the Moores' transaction. Now after two weeks of arm twisting, they're close to a resolution.

"The title company, the insurance company and the lawyer are going to split the difference and give us back our money," Jackie Moore said.

"It would have never been possible without 7 On Your Side actually helping us. No one would listen before until you guys got involved. Now people are listening and things are getting done," Jimmy Moore said.

The bank was able to recover a portion of the money sent to that fake account, about $37,000, and the real estate attorney along with the title company, even though both claim they were scam victims, will make up the rest and admit no wrongdoing.

The big takeaway - be very wary of financial emails. Call and verify the wiring instructions before you wire any money. Or simply don't wire it. Come to the closing with a cashier's check.

Hopefully Jimmy and Jackie can re-close and be back in their new home soon.
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