First-time buyers lose £94K in conveyancing scam

Two young first-time buyers have sadly lost £94,000 after a fraudster intercepted emails between themselves and their solicitor.

Two young first-time buyers have sadly lost £94,000 after a fraudster intercepted emails between themselves and their solicitor. 

There was another sting in the tail of this fraud. The way it was discovered was when the whole chain collapsed as all of the transactions were dependent on the first-time buyers' funds arriving in their conveyancer’s bank account. 

Stuart Lesser, of Aldermartin Baines & Cuthbert in Middlesex, who were instructed by a seller in the chain, was informed that the young buyers had paid the deposit money a week ago.  

With no exchange of contracts imminent, Lesser chased it up, only to be told there was a delay in the transaction. But after a few days had passed it was adamantly clear there was a serious issue.  

It transpired that the young buyers had been subjected to fraudsters who intercepted emails between them and their conveyancer, impersonating the law firm’s business email to make it look genuine including bank account details – fooling the couple into thinking it was from their solicitors.  

Heartbreakingly, the couple never questioned it and continued to use the account details contained in the fraudulent email and transferred the money. They have now seemingly lost all their money and the police are investigating the fraud case.  

Stuart Lesser feels other agents should seriously be made aware of the fraud incident, highlighting the issue so they can warn buyers and sellers of the risks involved when transferring money to bank accounts.  

Lesser said: 

“It was such an awful thing to happen. People in that chain and the agents concerned will all have lost something, but we’ll get over it. These young first-time buyers won’t.” 

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