What is Re-direction Deposit Fraud?

Barker Son & Isherwood LLP


Phone 01264 353411

Email info@bsandi.co.uk

Conveyancing fraud is on the rise. Many people may be unaware that scams are targeting the biggest financial transactions of their lives.

The Land Registry are now so worried about property fraud that they’ve set up a Property Fraud line but what is redirection deposit fraud and what can you do about it?

This new type of fraud targets email communications between a solicitor and their client after the client’s computer has been hacked. When the computer was hacked, some software known as malware was left behind. This malware won’t do anything until specific words trigger it. These words would be linked to buying a house or paying a deposit for a property. Once these keywords have been identified, the fraudsters know that they have a target. They will hack into the email account and pretend that they are the solicitor in the property transaction. They’ll explain that their bank details have changed and send details of the ‘new’ bank account to transfer the deposit. Obviously, this account actually belongs to the fraudsters and once the money is transferred, it’s gone for good.

Some estimates think that about £10 million has been stolen during hacks into emails between conveyancers and clients and the financial impact of this type of scam can be terrible. So what can you do to protect your money from this type of scam?

Well, the first and most obvious is to be aware of this type of scenario. The reason that fraudsters have been so successful with this scam is that people don’t expect it or know about it. Now you’ve read this article, you should be one step ahead of the scammers.

You should always assume that your solicitor or conveyancer will not change their bank details halfway through a transaction. If you get an email from your conveyancer saying their details have changed contact your conveyancer to ask them if this is true. It would be best to do this by visiting their office, but this is not always possible. Pick up the phone and call them to check but use the telephone number from some written correspondence rather than an email.

Chances are, this will be a scam. If so, report it to the Property Fraud line on 0300 006 7030 during office hours, Monday to Friday or email them [reportafraud@landregistry.gov.uk]. Also, inform your solicitor so they know they have been targeted.

Your solicitor or conveyancer will also have protections in place. Our client instruction letter will contain a number of statements about the fact we won’t change our bank details last minute and we won’t deal with bank details by email.

One of the main things is though, anything you are not sure of, talk to your conveyancer about it, preferably by phone.

If you would like a conveyancing quote or you’d like to speak to us about the steps we take to avoid property fraud, call our conveyancing team now on 01264 353411, via email: conveyancing@bsandi.co.uk or via our free, no-obligation online enquiry form and we will help you.

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