Beware bogus emails claiming to be from your solicitor
About to complete on a house purchase? Beware bogus emails claiming to be from your solicitor.
There has been another incident of a house buyer being tricked out of her purchase money by a fraudster pretending to be her conveyancer.
In a case we heard about through “Today’s Conveyancer”, a purchaser bought a house through an auction. Before she made the final payment of £137,000, she acted on an email she thought was from her solicitor telling her that the law firm’s bank details had changed. In fact, fraudsters had intercepted both the purchaser's and the conveyancer’s emails and as a result the purchaser sent the money to the fraudsters’ account and not to her conveyancer's.
It seems there was something odd about the fraudsters’ email that might have alerted the parties to there being something “fishy” about it. For example, capital letters were used in the wrong way and she was not addressed correctly.
This is another warning to be very careful when you transfer large amounts of money to your professional advisors. Always be on the lookout for things that look odd – and if they do, check with your solicitor immediately.
What do we do to avoid this type of fraud?
We have rigorous internal processes in place to ensure that we, our clients and lender’s money do not fall foul of fraudsters including:
- Lawyer Checker searches against all sellers' Conveyancers;
- we do not accept or send bank details by email to remove the possibility of fraudulent email interception;
- all bank details are re-checked over the phone; and
- before the funds leave our account, they are checked further by our head of accounts before being signed off by two partners.
This of course all takes a lot of time but is, in our view, essential.
To read more about the checks we as solicitors must carry out to stop fraudsters pinching your money, see our article: “Making sure everything's "quite right" on a property transaction”.Subscribe to our newsletter
Please note that the information and opinions contained in this article are not intended to be comprehensive, nor to provide legal advice. No responsibility for its accuracy or correctness is assumed by Pearson Solicitors and Financial Advisers Ltd or any of its members or employees. Professional legal advice should be obtained before taking, or refraining from taking, any action as a result of this article.
This blog was posted some time ago and its contents may now be out of date. For the latest legal position relating to these issues, get in touch with the author - or make an enquiry now.