At the end of April 2016 the Money section of The Daily Telegraph highlighted the continuing problem of “Friday afternoon fraud” where criminals hack into email accounts and divert large payments or transactions being processed ahead of the weekend or bank holidays, to limit the chance of detection.
The article warns people buying or selling properties to avoid communicating with their solicitors and conveyancers by email. ‘‘The fraudsters typically gain access to the email accounts of either the victim or their solicitor. When legitimate emails are sent between these parties giving details of bank accounts into which money should be transferred, the fraudsters alter the details so the money is sent to their own accounts.’’
As fresh cases continue to emerge and large sums of money are being lost by prospective house buyers, here are some tips to help avoid conveyancing scams:-
- As a prospective property buyer you should check the solicitor or conveyancer has a secure website. The web address should start with HTTPS – the ‘S’ stands for secure. There should also be a padlock on the left hand side of the browser.
- Ask what security measures are in place to protect emails. Many solicitors and conveyancers tend to communicate with customers via email because it is quick and cheap but ensure they have software protection in place and also check your own software protection. If you have to make a payment or transaction by email check the address is genuine.
- As a customer, establish one member of staff at the firm who you can deal with directly. When you have to make a payment go into the office if possible, or complete the transaction over the phone with the member of staff you know. If however it is necessary to complete a transaction by email, phone your established contact at the firm to check the email is real and the payment details are correct.
- Don’t send the full payment straight away. Even if you have checked the payment with the firm, transfer a small payment first before going through with the final transaction.
Peter Robinson & Co. have the knowledge and expertise required to make the process as straight forward as possible. Let us advise you on all the services available in connection with Residential Conveyancing.
Call us now on 0161 678 7996