Cyber crooks use email hacking scam to steal $25,000 from Dewey woman trying to buy a house

Posted at 9:53 PM, Jul 22, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-22 23:53:32-04

Dewey, Okla.— A Dewey woman lost $25,000 after an internet hacker tricked her into sending money to buy house to the wrong bank account.

The victim says she’s turned to the realtor, the title company and the police— but no one seems to be able to help.
In Dewey, where American flags and antique shops line this downtown street, even the music reminds you of another era. But that doesn’t make this town immune to a new-era type of crime, cyber-hackers.

“It's gut wrenching,” said victim Lacey Monday.

Monday was in the process of buying a home in Dewey last week.

An email with the account number to send the $25,000 to the title company was the last step.
“(the email) actually had the wrong instructions on it so they intercepted that email and changed the information but it still had the title company's logo,” she said.

Cyber crooks sending emails that appear to be from a company you do business with is a common scam— but not in Dewey.

“It's a little bit out of my wheelhouse,” said Dewey police Sgt. Tim Stringer.

It can be overwhelming for the town’s single detective, who is also currently working a homicide investigation.
“I've never handled a case where it appears as though an email somewhere along the line was intercepted,” Sgt. Stringer said.

2 Works For You reached out to the realty company who says they are still investigating what happened, but insist the issue has nothing to do with them.

Calls to the title company weren’t immediately returned.

“Basically everybody said that their hands are tied and it's our battle because it's our money,” Monday said.
It’s been an endless cycle of frustration, but one Monday says could have been avoided.

“We wanted to drive where they were and take a cashiers check or money order anything and they refused and said no all funds have to be wired,” she said.

Dewey police say they are researching how to investigate this type of crime. Sgt. Stringer said they say they will first try to determine the IP address the hacker used to send the email.

The National White Collar Crime Center has information and tips for law enforcement and consumers on its website.


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