Home buyer scammed out of $15K by hacker posing as attorney

A borough resident was scammed out of $15,000 by a hacker posing as an attorney, police said.

That resident would have lost $45,000 if the bank hadn’t frozen the funds, Capt. Thomas Kmetz said in a Facebook post.

Kmetz said the man was trying to buy a home and e-mailed who he thought was the seller’s attorney on Aug. 24. That attorney’s e-mail address, however, had been hacked and the hacker, posing as the attorney, told the man to wire the money to South Africa.

“Right there this victim should have ended all conversations,” Kmetz said. “But he didn’t.”

The victim, he said, did find this suspicious and questioned “the attorney” and was then told to send the money to the attorney’s secretary, Melynda Malloy in Derry, Pennsylvania. The victim then sent the $45,000 check to Malloy.

Another person, using the name of Jerry Freeman on Facebook, allegedly told Malloy to send that check to Nigeria. After depositing the check, Malloy used $15,000 and then tried to send the rest to Nigeria but the bank stopped it, police said.

Police haven’t yet said whether Malloy was charged or taken into custody in Pennsylvania.

Kmetz did offer a few tips to residents:

If you receive a check that you did not earn, you are involved in a scam
If you are dealing with large sums of money, you better be sure you know where it is going.
Never send money out of the U.S. unless you know who it is going to. That does not mean someone told you so. It means that you mom lives in Ireland and you know you are sending her money.
Most of all; question everything. Be suspicious about everyone when it comes to your money.


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