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.” 

Join our upcoming webinar 

In our upcoming webinar, Tom Lyes, Key Relationship Manager and Jen Williams, Cyber Security Expert at Lawyer Checker will be discussing an email validation system called OnDMARC and answer the top questions that law firms want to know.  When it comes to cyber crime, email is a law firm's biggest risk. Without adequate protection in place, anyone can send an email directly to your customers, suppliers or employees pretending to be you.    

Lawyer Checker believe in a jargon free, straightforward and accessible approach to cyber security.  

We offer a fully inclusive suite of products and services designed to help protect your firm from money transfer fraud and the imminent threat of cyber crime. 

  • Use Consumer Bank Account Checker to verify the bank details are that of the client details you’ve been provided 
  • Check the legitimacy of the firm on the other side with Account & Entity Screen 
  • Prevent fraudsters from cloning your emails with OnDMARC 
  • Verify client ID and source of funds in minutes with Thirdfort 
  • Protect your firm from 80% of cyber attacks with the Government backed Cyber Essentials accreditation 
  • Use our dark web monitoring service to alert you to if anything suspicious is found 
  • Conduct regular website/network vulnerability scans and penetration testing to identify weaknesses in your systems 
Book a consultation to find out more about our services and how we can help to protect your firm from financial loss, increased PI premiums and scrutiny from regulators. 

Call: 0800 133 7127 Email:support@lawyerchecker.co.uk