Congressman Brad Sherman

Representing the 30th District of CALIFORNIA

Congressmen Brad Sherman and David Kustoff Urge the Federal Reserve to Protect Homebuyers from Wire Fraud


Jun 7, 2019
Press Release

Washington, DC – Today, Congressmen Brad Sherman (D-CA), David Kustoff (R-TN) and a bipartisan group of 41 House members sent a letter to Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, requesting that he provide answers on how the Fed might better protect homebuyers from the growing threat of real estate wire fraud.

According to the FBI, since 2013 cyber criminals have scammed Americans out of $12 billion using this e-mail spoofing scam which often targets homebuyers. This type of crime is also sometimes referred to by law enforcement as “Business Email Compromise” or “Email Compromise.”

“Far too often, I hear of situations in which cyber-criminals send fraudulent emails to homebuyers, real estate agents, lenders, title companies and attorneys in an effort to steal a homebuyer’s down-payment. Cyber criminals do this by hacking into an e-mail account and send false wire instructions to homebuyers to steal their down payment, in some cases their entire life savings.” said Rep. Sherman. “It is time the Federal Reserve provide answers on what can be done to address this vulnerability in our payments system.”

Several weeks ago, the FBI released its Internet Crime report for 2018, which identified that there were roughly 11,300 victims of real estate wire fraud last year who collectively suffered $149,458,114 in total losses. This number is a significant increase
from the 9,645 victims in 2017. 

These scams are so effective, in part, because there are no requirements in the U.S. that the name of the individual intended to receive a wire transfer matches the account into which the funds are transferred. In the United Kingdom, regulators are moving towards putting in place tools for this type of payment to allow confirmation that the person intended to receive a transfer of funds is the actual account holder. This letter asks that Fed Chair Powell explore adopting a similar solution in the U.S.  

For the full text of the letter, please click here: