‘Shark Tank’ Judge Victim of Phishing Scam, Loses $400K
Barbara Corcoran, former real estate executive and TV “Shark Tank” judge, lost hundreds of thousands of dollars in a phishing scheme. A similar scam is targeting real estate professionals and their clients, too.
A person posing as Corcoran’s assistant sent an invoice to her bookkeeper for a renovation payment. Corcoran is an investor in real estate and assumed the invoice was accurate. Her bookkeeper wired $388,700 to the email address.
But the email was a fraud. The scammer had been imitating the assistant in the email; the email address was misspelled by one letter.
The funds have since disappeared, and Corcoran told media outlets that she’ll never get her money back.
A similar scam is sweeping through the real estate industry, preying on home buyers’ down payments. Scammers will imitate or hijack emails of real estate professionals, lenders, attorneys, or others involved in a real estate transaction and send buyers fraudulent wiring instructions to send down payments. Buyers who transfer the money are often out their entire payment.
The real estate industry has been increasingly warning others to beware and to always verify information prior to wiring any funds. Watch this wire fraud warning video from the National Association of REALTORS®.
Phishing scams are hitting many industries hard, costing consumers a lot of money. Nearly 30,000 people reported being a victim of a phishing scam last year. The FBI’s 2018 Internet Crime Report shows that there were nearly $50 million in losses that year alone.
Corcoran posted a tweet: “Lesson learned: Be careful when you wire money!”