Conveyancing Fraud

Posted By: on 2nd December 2021 | Category: Blog

Conveyancing Fraud is on the Rise – Are You Protected?

Liz Cashinella, Residential Conveyancer at Coole Bevis discusses the rise in conveyancing fraud cases and looks at the steps house buyers and sellers can take to protect themselves.

Fraudulent activity related to property sales and purchases is on the rise. The methods criminals are adopting are ever changing and becoming increasingly sophisticated so we all need to be aware of the scams that are out there and how to prevent ourselves from falling victim to them, particularly when transferring large sums of money when buying a house, for example.

There has been much in the news recently surrounding people that have unknowingly succumbed to fraudulent activity. Recent cases have reported on hundreds of thousands of pounds being intercepted by criminals when making a property purchase, the majority of the money never being recovered.

Protecting Yourself from Conveyancing Fraud

The Law Society sets out the following guidance on how you can protect yourself from fraud when buying or selling a home:

  • Get bank details from your law firm either in person or over the phone at the start of the conveyancing process and agree a robust mechanism by which any legitimate changes in bank details would occur, such as confirming them in person. Ask them to confirm the details by post if you’ve obtained them in person or over the phone
  • If you receive an email or telephone call from your Law firm stating a change in the bank details, question its authenticity. Always check the bank details directly with your lawyer by calling them on their published telephone number
  • Set strong and separate passwords for your accounts, and make sure that you have anti-virus software installed on your devices; these frauds usually rely on email accounts being compromised
  • Avoid posting on social media about buying/selling your house or getting a mortgage
  • Avoid using public or unprotected Wi-Fi systems to check emails when you are buying a house. Fraudsters can easily hack into vulnerable Wi-Fi systems
  • If you are making a payment to an account for the first time, transfer a small sum first and then check with the law firm using known contact details that the payment has been received
  • If you have any doubt about the transaction then do not transfer your money until you are satisfied it is correct

In addition to the above, we would advise home owners to sign up to HM Land Registry’s free Property Alert service to protect against fraud. An email alert will be sent each time there is significant activity on the property you are monitoring, such as if a new mortgage is taken out against it.

Coole Bevis LLP are authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) and our Residential Property team is accredited to the Conveyancing Quality Scheme (CQS), a recognised quality standard for residential conveyancing practices. When instructing us on your property sale or purchase you can be assured that you are receiving high quality advice and that we follow robust and standardised processes to reduce any risks.

Whether you are buying, selling or both, our experienced Conveyancing team are on hand to help your matter proceed as smoothly as possible so please get Contact us to discuss the next step.

For further guidance on avoiding Conveyancing Fraud please visit The Law Society website.

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