Published: 31/03/2022Property transactions are often targeted by criminals with the aim of tricking you into transferring money to them instead of to your solicitor or agent. This is known as Payment Diversion Fraud (or Business Email Compromise) and affects businesses and customers where electronic financial transactions are taking place.
Criminals will contact you by email claiming to be from your solicitor or agent and will request a payment to be made or inform you of a change to their bank account details. They will often create fake email addresses which are very similar to genuine addresses and might even send over fake invoices to make it more believable.
To avoid making any payment directly into a bank account controlled by criminals, follow the advice below:
· Take the time to consider whether an email could be a scam, especially if the sender pressurises you to act, and be aware that some fraudulent emails can be very convincing and accurate
· Always obtain bank details from your solicitor or agent in person or by calling them direct to check the details provided in an email
· Solicitors and agents rarely change their bank details and an email advising this is likely to be a scam
· Avoid posting on social media about a property purchase or rental
· Don’t use public Wi-Fi to check emails when involved in a property transaction
· If you have any doubts about a message received, check with your agent or solicitor
· Contact your bank immediately if you think you are being scammed, and don’t feel embarrassed as you are not alone