Conveyancing fraud is on the rise and one specific type of fraud is Buyer Deposit Redirection Fraud. In 2015 86 buyers lost their deposit to impostors and, in 2016, that number increased to 159.
This form of fraud targets email communications between a conveyancer and client after the client’s computer has been hacked. When a computer has been hacked malware is left behind which is triggered by specific words. These words would be linked to buying a house or transferring a deposit for a property. Once these key words have been identified, the fraudsters know that they have a target. More often than not, suspicious activity is noticed too late and by that time the money has been withdrawn and the buyer is sadly left without a home.
An equally worrying type of fraud also on the increase is Property hijack. Figures show that property buyers are losing £25 million a year according to recent studies through fraudster sellers, who steal the buyers’ money via impersonation of the actual legal owner/s of the property.
Importantly, it is urged that buyers stay vigilant when in the process of property purchasing, as this type of fraud could be stopped in its preliminary stages. For example, if the seller has little knowledge of the property or neighbouring area it may throw up warning signs favouring the prospect that the seller does not legally own the property on sale. A further action which may raise the need for caution could be the sellers unreasonable rush to sell.
In order to help ensure our valued clients avoid risks of this nature, we are pleased to announce that we have joined the Safe Buyer Scheme. Their thorough fraud checks help to alleviate the risk of property fraud happening and if the optional Safe Buyer Insurance is selected, the buyer is insured against financial loss from these fraudulent situations. Clicking on the Safe Buyer logo at the bottom of the page will take you to the Safe Buyer Scheme website where checks can be made to ensure when your transferring money to us you do have the correct account details avoiding the risk of email hijack which results in you receiving incorrect account details and sending money to fraudsters.
If you have any questions we urge you to speak to us when providing instructions. Our aim at Guildhall Solicitors is to make your Conveyancing process safe and efficient so whilst the risks are real and devastating if you become a victim taking a few proactive steps gives you piece of mind that the risks you face have been limited and insured against.