New scam hits conveyancers

Conveyancers are being warned about a new scam that intercepts emails and uses the information in them to steal money.

The scam, reported to have hit firms in South Africa, works by sending an email to a conveyancer and asking for monies owed to them, such as a refunded deposit, to be put into a bank account different to the one used previously, stating that it has been closed or is temporarily discontinued.

In the meantime, the purchaser wil receive e-mails apologising for the delay in the transfer of the funds.

By the time the conveyancer realises that the new bank account did not belong to the purchaser, all the money has been withdrawn from the fraudulent account.

E-mails sent will come from an address almost identical to the purchaser’s/conveyancer’s address and will tend to have one letter swapped around – for example the address [email protected] will become [email protected] and the the slight discrepancies easily go unnoticed.

The fraudster intercepts emails sent from the purchaser or conveyancer, and then opens accounts with similar addresses to the and conveyancer’s ones, enabling the scam artist to send messages which at first glance, seem legitimate.

To avoid being hit by this new scam, there are a number of precautions conveyancer’s can take: £·

£· Carefully check e-mail addresses to ensure that it is identical to the one on file. 

£· Always phone anyone who has asked for a payment to be made to different account on a verifiable contact number.

£· Do not use a number provided in the email concerned.

£·Do not pay out on an e-mail instruction alone.

£·Do not pay money into an account without verifying the bank details. Ask for proof of the account being in the person concerned’s name, such as a bank statement or pay slip.

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