KANSAS CITY, Mo. – A dream house turns into a nightmare for a subway woman and her fiance. After signing the papers and even getting the keys, the money they had wired for a down payment was gone.
It was meant to be a fresh start, as Matt Stetson and his fiancee Hannah Beatty got the keys to their new home.
Stetson moved to Kansas City from Nebraska to settle here with Beatty and her son. It’s also a new start for her after surviving domestic violence.
âWe wanted to be able to have our family all together,â Beatty said.
But right after moving into a few businesses, the unthinkable happened. The couple learned that the $ 40,000 they believed went to the bank and the securities firm when it closed was gone.
âI’ve never owned a house, and it was a great, great tragedy for us,â Beatty said.
In the flood of emails before closing, Matt got a message from what he thought was the bank. In fact, a hacker spoofed the loan officer‘s email, insisting that the down payment must now be sent by wire transfer.
âThey added a single letter to each of the lender and securities company email addresses and introduced themselves as these people with just the next instruction you were supposed to do and almost duplicating an email from our office. saying to bring a cashier’s check, âsaid Heather Chatlos, agent at Heartland Real Estate Services.
By the time the problem was detected, the couple’s money had been sent and the crooks cashed in.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, between 2015 and 2017, mortgage wire transfer scams increased by 1,100%, costing consumers more than $ 1 billion.
Chatlos believes the problem is growing again due to the current burning housing market.
âI would suggest people check it out, call again. Calls in fact. Don’t rely on emails and even when you go to make a wire transfer, call the institution you’re connecting to, verify the numbers. Check the routing information because if it doesn’t match it’ll tell you it’s not correct, âChatlos said.
Chatlos started a GoFundMe page, hoping to recover Beatty and Stetson’s lost money so they can keep their dream home. The couple are grateful for the support and hope buyers learn from their experience, which can easily happen to anyone.
âNo matter what the outcome, I know if I can help someone, it’s worth it,â Beatty said.
The couple’s real estate agent and lender are now giving up their commissions, and the sellers are lowering theirs, trying to help if they can raise enough money to continue buying the house. If you want to help the couple, you can donate here.
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