The moment a buyer closes on a home is a moment of celebration. Yes, a large amount of money is at stake. But, if done correctly, at the end of the transaction the buyer walks away with a property of their own — and possibly at least partially the bank’s if the buyer got a mortgage.

In most cases, the closing meeting goes as expected. However, there are instances when issues arise that result in unintended results. One Florida family provides an example.

Paying the closing costs: Tread carefully

The family came to the closing meeting ready to finalize the purchase of their new home. The secretary approached the family as they entered the office for the closing meeting. She stated the office required payment to cover closing costs. The family responds, stating they already wired the money to the office.

After a discussion, it becomes clear the family was duped by a scammer.

Scammers hack real estate emails, steal money

The con is not a new one. Hackers have been breaking through security and getting into real estate agent’s emails for years. They use information to reach out to buyers and encourage the buyers to wire the money as instructed. Unfortunately, the instructions result in the scammers stealing the buyer’s money. In this case, it led to the family losing $77,000.

Buyers can learn from this family’s loss

Thus far, the family has not gotten their $77,000 back. Fortunately, they were able to come up with funds to cover the closing costs and were still able to complete the real estate transaction.

Other buyers throughout Florida can learn from this family’s loss. These scams are not uncommon. In fact, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) they are on the rise. Buyers can protect themselves by carefully reviewing email addresses for a missing letter and calling their real estate attorney to verify any transaction required for a closing before moving forward with a wire request.