Gold Coast couple lost $40,000 in real estate scam after buying dream home

A Gold Coast couple has been left devastated after losing nearly $40,000 at the hands of a “cunning” email scammer posing as a real estate agent.

Mitch Wilson and Penny Davies believed they were just following their agent’s advice when they transferred their house deposit to a bank account.

They had received an email from what appeared to be the email address of a Sold Street estate agent.

“It plays over and over in my head all the time,” Davies said.

“We received an email from the real estate agent that we had been dealing with, from his email account, saying that in light of the contract, please pay money to this account,” Wilson told 9News.

They discovered something was wrong when the real estate agency asked where the money was.  Image 9 News.JPG
camera iconMitch Wilson and Penny Davies have lost nearly $40,000 in the scam. 9 News Credit: channel 9

The couple transferred $39,000 to the bank account and didn’t think about it again until the agent contacted them a few days later to ask where the money was.

“We went back and forth, exchanging screenshots and emails from his and ours, and what was obvious is that the money didn’t go where it was supposed to go, which was his account,” Wilson said.

“(It ended up) in a scammer’s account and then overseas to a crypto account.”

Police refer to it as an email compromise scam whereby scammers infiltrate an email account and send emails to victims, making it very difficult to discern that it is a scam.

The fraudulent email sent to the family.  Image 9 News.JPG
camera iconThe scam email was reportedly sent from the real estate agents’ compromised account. 9 News Credit: channel 9

“These people with these skills, they are very cunning, they are very calculated,” Ian Wells of the Queensland Police Service Cybercrime Group told 9News.

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