LAS VEGAS (KLAS) -- Imagine wiring money to what you think is a title company to buy a home or property and suddenly it's gone. It's a new scam which the FBI is now warning consumers about.
"They asked me to wire the money," Yves Ghiai said. "I wired the money."
It was more than $168,000 to seal the deal.
"I even sent an email to confirm that, you know, this is what I wired," he said.
But when the San Francisco native showed up in Las Vegas one week later, he knew something was wrong.
"I went to the title company. The escrow officer said, as I said, she made me sign the papers to close escrow and she said 'When do you think of wiring us the money?" Ghiai said. "She said, 'We never got the money.' I said well look, these are all the emails. Then they panicked and she said, 'Well that's not my email.' At that point, I thought my heart was going to stop."
Ghiai planned on buying property in downtown Las Vegas. He says he was using his retirement money to build on the property and leave an inheritance for his children. Instead, the real estate transaction and his money were gone within seconds.
"This is my life, you know. My life that I put into this investment," he said. "I was in a hotel room just panicking. I didn't dare tell my wife. My whole life was going through all those 15 years of savings gone because, you know, I've never seen such incompetence in a title company."
While Ghiai thought he was communicating with a Reliant Title employee, it appears he was actually dealing with a hacker.
"They'll contact the person who is going to be wiring the money and they will give them additional information or different information which will then re-direct that money to a compromised account," said Aaron Rouse, FBI.
Rouse is the special agent in charge of the FBI Las Vegas division, which is investigating more scams like this one.