‘Conveyancing fraud’ on the rise

Moore Thompson are warning clients to be wary of ‘conveyancing fraud’, which has been on the rise in recent months, according to reports.

Crime watchdog Action Fraud has reported that an increasing number of criminals are targeting the residential property sector – by hacking into the email chains between sellers, buyers and conveyancers, and commandeering their communications.

Moore Thompson are urging all clients seeking our residential property or letting advice to be on the lookout for such crimes, which are not always easy to spot.

This is because eavesdropping cybercriminals are capable of hacking into or altering emails from estate agents or conveyancers very sneakily – often leaving unsuspecting homebuyers unaware that they are communicating with a fraudster, as opposed to an agent or solicitor.

According to Action Fraud, hackers posing as officials are typically informing buyers of ‘last-minute’ changes to bank account details – and redirecting large sums of money, in the form of mortgage deposits and conveyancing fees, to be paid into fraudster-controlled bank accounts.

Moore Thompson are advising homebuyers to always agree and confirm and bank details with their estate agents and/or conveyancers in person wherever possible.

When checking important emails, making an online payment or arranging a bank transfer, we advise all parties to avoid using public WiFi services – and to avoid publicising forthcoming home purchases on social media, which is often rife with cybercriminals looking for a potential lead.