Both client and conveyancer duped by fraudster to the tune of almost £98,000

Do you know who you are transferring money to? Do you know your client?

When sending your client their sale proceed funds – do you really know, for sure, that you are sending the monies to your actual client? If you answered yes – then how do you verify this?

Do you, in the main, contact your client by email? No one would blame you if the answer was yes – after all we are all busy, your clients invariably are too.

So, what happens when someone intercepts your client’s email and you send the money to the wrong person and account, when you think you are sending proceed money to your client’s genuine and correct account?

Both parties duped by the fraudster:

This is the nightmare scenario which solicitors Powell & Co of Sutton Coldfield faced when they were conned by a fraudster posing as their clients Max and Davinder Deluca. The fraudster managed to generate fake emails posing as both parties:  

  1. They reassured the Delucas that the transaction was successful by presenting themselves as their conveyancers, Powell & Co,
  2. They defrauded the real bona fide conveyancers at Powell & Co by posing at the Delucas.

Powell & Co were tricked into transferring the £98,000 proceeds from the Deluca sale to an account owned by the fraudster, not the Deluca’s actual account.

It was only when, over a week later, the Deluca’s question the whereabouts of their cash with Powell & Co that they discover that the payment was made to an RBS account, rather than to their Barclays account.

The Delucas are now having to live in a one bedroom annex whilst they wait to see if they will get their money back. The SRA are investigating.

How could this be avoided?

Earlier this year Best Anti Fraud Service award winners Lawyer Checker launched their, Consumer Bank Account Checker, a risk management product which specifically tackles the problem of ‘know your client’ and helps assist law firms in understanding that their client’s account details are verified.

Whether sending or receiving client funds, how do you really know whose account details you have? Consumer Bank Account Checker validates the source or destination of funds.

Powered by Experian’s unrivalled consumer database, this product can be implemented into the transaction process prior to the movement of any funds between a firm and their client. Giving an instant response delivered right to your inbox, flexible payment options and a UK team of support staff, Consumer Bank Account Checker offers the best protection for your firm and your client’s funds.


It provides:

  • Enhanced Due Diligence: an added layer of protection when remitting sales proceeds to your client to avoid liability and adhere to Principle 10 of the Code of Conduct.
  • Help to validate the source of funds – assist in the fight to combat mortgage fraud.
  • Incentive practices – this added check can help validate the client’s source of funds when there is a requirement for the disclosure of incentives.
  • Peace of mind – 69% of UK firms have been hit by cybercrime – don’t get caught out.

Want to know more? Sign up for a webinar today.

Don’t get caught out – implement Consumer Bank Account Checker today and start protecting your firm and your clients.

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