A rejected offer is one thing, but losing a dream home to wire fraud is truly every buyer’s nightmare

That’s exactly what Ross and Melinda Fulton, a retired Missouri pastor and his wife, experienced while attempting to wire $130,000 for an all-cash payment on a new home, as KSHB Kansas City reported.

After saving for decades and selling their first home in Clinton, the couple decided to use the money to purchase a new home closer to their grandchildren. 

Following a wide search, they found a home in Independence, Missouri, made an offer that was accepted, and wanted to close the sale with the help of an agent. One day in November, they received the following message.

“Hello Ross and Melinda, In preparation for your closing on the 30th of November. The closing balance will be required to be wired 26th of November. I would like to know if you will be able to perform the wire on the 26th, so I can inform [company name].”

After some back and forth about an in-person payment with the party on the other end of the email, the Fultons gave in. Because the email was signed with their agent’s signature, the Fultons and had no reason to suspect a scam. And so they wired the money to avoid losing out on their dream home.

It turned out that a third party had hacked their email and monitored their previous conversation with their agent, and used the information to send the request for the money wire at the perfect time.

Of course wire fraud is a common practice, especially on big ticket items like homes. This is why making payments in person is still the recommended method by many.

“The scammers are – I hate to use the word professionals – but they do that because it works,” Paul Hentzen, the couple’s lawyer, said of the incident.

While it’s virtually impossible that they’ll get all their money back, the Fultons are hoping others will at least learn from their innocent mistake and are encouraging all buyers to be extra careful before wiring money, including calling the recipient to verify correct wire transfer instructions — using a phone number provided independently of whatever email request was sent.

Email Inman

Show Comments Hide Comments


Sign up for Inman’s Morning Headlines
What you need to know to start your day with all the latest industry developments
By submitting your email address, you agree to receive marketing emails from Inman.
Thank you for subscribing to Morning Headlines.
Back to top
Only 3 days left to register for Inman Connect Las Vegas before prices go up! Don't miss the premier event for real estate pros.Register Now ×
Limited Time Offer: Get 1 year of Inman Select for $199SUBSCRIBE×
Log in
If you created your account with Google or Facebook
Don't have an account?
Forgot your password?
No Problem

Simply enter the email address you used to create your account and click "Reset Password". You will receive additional instructions via email.

Forgot your username? If so please contact customer support at (510) 658-9252

Password Reset Confirmation

Password Reset Instructions have been sent to

Subscribe to The Weekender
Get the week's leading headlines delivered straight to your inbox.
Top headlines from around the real estate industry. Breaking news as it happens.
15 stories covering tech, special reports, video and opinion.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
It looks like you’re already a Select Member!
To subscribe to exclusive newsletters, visit your email preferences in the account settings.
Up-to-the-minute news and interviews in your inbox, ticket discounts for Inman events and more
1-Step CheckoutPay with a credit card
By continuing, you agree to Inman’s Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

You will be charged . Your subscription will automatically renew for on . For more details on our payment terms and how to cancel, click here.

Interested in a group subscription?
Finish setting up your subscription