A couple in the midst of a property transaction have yet to recover almost £60,000 after falling victim to a property scam.
In a set of events which have now become alarmingly common, the couple were engaged in what they thought was legitimate email correspondence with their solicitor and mortgage broker.
However, somewhere along the line, this had been intercepted by a criminal, resulting in every home buyer’s worst nightmare.
Whilst they thought they were sending a CHAPS payment of £137,500 to their solicitor, the account they actually sent the funds to was that of a fraudster. The fact that the solicitor’s account information did not match the bank details was not flagged, resulting in the whole amount being transferred to a criminal.
Fortunately for the couple, Barclays has been able to recover some of the money, however just under £60,000 still remains missing.
The ongoing risk
Despite cases like this raising awareness of email modification fraud, the fact it’s still happening means that the risk hasn’t gone away.
In fact, it’s more prominent than ever.
Fraudsters know that as the public becomes more aware of what to look out for, they need to refine their techniques and utilise new methods of duping unsuspecting consumers. As a result, email interception becomes more streamlined, criminal correspondence becomes more believable and the risk of money being transferred to an illegitimate source will increase.
How can you protect your client’s funds?
Whilst it’s important that you ensure clients are aware of the risk of being targeted, it’s even more so that your firm has its own prevention measures in place; as stated in the SRA’s Risk Outlook, it’s vital that firms ‘confirm the identity of other firms that they deal with.’
In order to ensure that transactions are properly protected, it’s essential that checks are applied on a wide-scale and blanket basis with prevention strategies taken seriously, especially at a time when the risk of fraud is at an all-time high.
To verify that the bank details of a third-party firm are genuine and mitigate the risk of fraud, the SRA advises considering the use of a service such as Lawyer Checker.
As well helping to create a proactive approach towards risk prevention, the use of a service such as Lawyer Checker ensures that transactions are protected at a consistently high level.
Click the link below to find out how Lawyer Checker can help protect your client’s money.