Kennesaw couple loses $17K in email scam despite warning signs

Their contractor’s email was hacked. Now the money is gone.
Updated: Dec. 2, 2021 at 5:17 PM EST
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ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) - A Kennesaw couple building their retirement home in the North Georgia mountains were recently scammed out of $17,000. Craig Seabolt and his wife didn’t think twice about an email from their contractor. But that’s not what it was.

The couple is building a lakefront retirement home in Blairsville. Not long after groundbreaking, the first $17,000 payment was due. The Seabolts mailed a check to their builder.

A few days later, they received an email that said the bank was having a problem processing the check. The email contained wire instructions, and claimed they would rip up the original check. Seabolt’s wife sent the money without asking any questions, because she believed it came from their builder. A month later, when the scammers made another wire request, Seabolt started asking questions.

The email was a spoof. Someone hacked into the builder’s account. The FBI was able to track the wire transfer to St. Petersburg, Russia, but the money is gone.

There were clues in the emails, including a grammatical error and spelling error.

The builder was able to fix their email account and the home will be done early next year. However, the Seabolts want others to know that if you receive an email that appear to be from someone you know but they ask for something unusual, you should check it out before taking action.

“Were still out the money the whole point of this is. We’d love for people to be aware that something as normal as an email that you’ve received 20 times, the next one may not be real. And if they’re asking for something funny like a wire transfer, pick up the phone and call them,” Seabolt said.