Home buyers: Beware of scam involving your down payment - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Home buyers: Beware of scam involving your down payment

Buyers stand to lose tens of thousands of dollars, and the odds are good they will never get that money back. Source: WLBT Buyers stand to lose tens of thousands of dollars, and the odds are good they will never get that money back. Source: WLBT
Buyers stand to lose tens of thousands of dollars, and the odds are good they will never get that money back. Source: WLBT Buyers stand to lose tens of thousands of dollars, and the odds are good they will never get that money back. Source: WLBT
Buyers stand to lose tens of thousands of dollars, and the odds are good they will never get that money back. Source: WLBT Buyers stand to lose tens of thousands of dollars, and the odds are good they will never get that money back. Source: WLBT
Buyers stand to lose tens of thousands of dollars, and the odds are good they will never get that money back. Source: WLBT Buyers stand to lose tens of thousands of dollars, and the odds are good they will never get that money back. Source: WLBT
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

One of the biggest checks you'll ever write is for the down payment or closing costs on your new house. Now, thieves have figured out how to steal that money in a scam that's touched home buyers around the country.

"Some are doing 20 percent down, and that's a lot of money on a $300,000 property, $400,000 property," says realtor Donna Deaton.

Deaton wants to get the word out about a financially devastating scam reaching home buyers. Thieves get into the computers or email accounts of people tied to the home closing process, often closing attorneys or title companies. 

Then, they watch and wait. 

When the thieves see a closing coming up, they email the home buyer, posing as someone from the title company, and say there's been a last minute change to the closing. They say the buyer needs to wire the down payment and closing costs to a new account, instead. 

So the buyers wire the money.

"And the next thing you know, the title company's calling, going, 'We don't have your money', where's your money, we can't close without your money!', buyer's going, 'I sent my money, this is where I sent it to, title company's going, 'those are not our wiring instructions.'"

Buyers stand to lose tens of thousands of dollars, and the odds are good they will never get that money back. 

The usual bank protections for consumers against fraud don't apply to wire transfers. 

Be skeptical of any last minute changes to your closing, and never act on any emailed instructions without verifying everything first with your realtor.  

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