With hundreds of thousands of pounds changing hands in a single transaction, fraudsters have been targeting a growing number of homeowners, buyers and sellers, during the conveyancing process.With hundreds of thousands of pounds changing hands in a single transaction, fraudsters have been targeting a growing number of homeowners, buyers and sellers, during the conveyancing process.
Significant sums have been lost where fraudsters have impersonated solicitors, cloned websites and hacked into email accounts.
1. Choose a local solicitor – pop into their office and meet the person who will be handling your transaction (and therefore your money) in person. A reputable firm will need to see you anyway to carry out identity checks, so take the opportunity to introduce yourself to your adviser;
2. Double check the email address of your adviser (is it co.uk or .com?)– this is important as fraudsters often set up dummy email accounts to impersonate real law firms;
3. Check the team section on our website – before responding to any email from someone that you do not know – all staff with authority are listed there.
4. Do not respond to any emails that ask for or claim to provide bank account details (for example, saying that account details have changed)– we will never email you about this, details will be confirmed in writing.
5. Do not advertise details of your house move on social media – fraudsters are looking for hints about when the money may be transferred.
6. Verify the account details and amount by phone, with your adviser before you transfer any money.
Some estate agents guide customers towards using a ‘bulk conveyancer’ whose offices may be out of the area. It is most important to realise that without a one-to-one personal relationship; a great deal of money may be at stake.
The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice. The law may have changed since this article was published. Readers should not act based on the information included and should take appropriate professional advice upon their own particular circumstances.