Real estate pro, victim of hackers, warns public after losing $25k in online theft

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BLUE SPRINGS, Mo. -- She thought she'd be the last person to get hacked.

Amy Stetzler, who has worked in real estate and as a notary and credit professional for 12 years, said online hackers took $25,000 she'd intended to use for an investment.

Stetzler said she can`t believe she was hacked. The Blue Springs resident said she tried purchasing a piece of property via email. She said emails meant for the title loan company she'd used were intercepted by hackers who, on Jan. 18, deceived her into sending money via wire transfer to a fraudulent account.

She thought she had been talking with a title loan representative until she noticed a one-letter difference in the emails she'd been sending and receiving.

Stetzler shared emails with FOX4 News that showed hackers had even stolen an email signature line from an officer with the title loan firm.

"I looked down at my email, and I realized there was no "Y" in the email address," Stetzler said Wednesday, recalling the moment when she realized she'd been robbed. "We pulled together $25,000 in three weeks to make this happen."

Stetzler immediately filed complaints with the FBI and the Missouri Attorney General's Office. So far, she said she hasn't gotten her money back.

FOX4 reached out to both of those agencies, both of which said they couldn't comment on ongoing investigations.

"This can happen to anybody. I've got 12 years in this industry. Never in my life would I have thought this was going to happen to me because I know the industry," Stetzler said.

Crystal Cowley, Stetzler's real estate colleague, said this fiasco has taken a mental toll on her friend. She and other real estate professionals recommend checking -- and double-checking -- email addresses before sending sensitive messages.

Stetzler said she's aggravated and considering doing business only face-to-face.

"Losing that amount of money -- think about the blood sweat and tears you put into the daily grind to have that kind of cash on hand. To have that go into thin air, can you imagine?" Cowley said.

FOX4 also reached out to the title loan company Stetzler used, but the company didn't return our request for comment on Wednesday.

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