Couple scammed out of $147K in pursuit of Portland dream home

Crime

Hector Guerra's bank flagged the wire transfer and helped the family dodge the mortgage scam

A file photo of a woman using a laptop. (ISSOUF SANOGO/AFP via Getty Images)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A local family reached out to KOIN 6 News after they lost tens of thousands of dollars in a mortgage scam.

Hector Guerra and his wife thought they were buying their dream home in Southeast Portland to be near their daughters and grandkids.

Hector wired the $147,000 down payment on the closing date but the bank wiring instructions they were emailed turned out to be bogus.

“I got wiring instructions from a fake email and everything. I read the information on the email, everything looked legit to me and I didn’t hesitate to place the order for a wire,” he said.

But the family was lucky. Hector’s bank flagged the wire transfer and he learned on Thursday that he got all but $185 back and is still buying the house.

To protect yourself if you’re getting a new mortgage, be sure to call your escrow officer to verify the wiring instructions. Verify that you’re really talking to the escrow officer and not a scammer who emailed a bogus number.

Learn more by visiting the following links:

US Dept of Justice: Hundreds arrested for business fraud schemes
National Association of Realtors: Wire Fraud
New York Times: “How to Protect Yourself From Real Estate Scams”

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