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Beware of email fraud when buying a home

With an increased threat of online scams and cyber fraud, home buyers are being warned about the potential risks of using email during property transactions. The size of the bank transactions involved when buying a house can provide rich-pickings for email hackers who use phishing attacks to gain the information they need to convince unsuspecting buyers to transfer money to them, rather than into their solicitor's account.

Fraud alert

Their emails are really convincing and could say things like: 'we're having issues with our bank and need you to pay the funds into a different account.' But, until you have discussed this with your solicitor (using their original contact details) you should not act on this kind of email - regardless of how genuine it looks.

As you go through the house-buying process, your solicitor should give you advice on how best to avoid becoming a victim of this type of crime. In the meantime, here are a few tips that one of our trusted financial advisors, Justin Massey, has passed on to us to make sure that you're aware of the possible dangers.

  • Email addresses can be "spoofed" by a hacker, an email may look like it has come from a legitimate source - if in doubt contact your solicitor/broker
  • Always use the contact details you have for your solicitor, not those quoted in the email footer 
  • Always confirm by phone, requests for funds and the bank account to be credited 
  • Never accept a change of bank details for your solicitor by email - confirm with the firm before sending funds
  • Never accept a change of solicitors without discussing this with your broker and your solicitor
  • Never accept a change of phone number for either your solicitor or broker via email.

To find out more about preventing yourself from becoming a victim of fraud, take a look at the Take Five website.

27 November 2017