Three high profile property fraud incidents in less than a week

The property sector has been left reeling after three high profile property fraud incidents have occurred in less than a week. 

A man was found guilty and sentenced to an 18-month jail term for impersonation and push payment fraud by Leicester Crown Crowd last week after intercepting an email exchange between buyer and conveyancer. 

Surjan Roopra accessed the email account of the home buyer’s conveyancer and sent bogus emails, with amended bank details, to the buyer. 

The buyer then paid £55,000 to the fraudster thinking it was their conveyancer. 

More recently, an excited couple saw their dreams of a first home collapse after £94,000 was fraudulently stolen via a bank transfer. 

The young first-time buyers saw their own dreams and that of the property chain they were part of, shatter, after fraudsters intercepted emails between the couple and their conveyancer and convincing them to send the funds to an alternative account.

Consequently, the chain of housing sales floundered as the sale at the bottom of the chain never exchanged contracts because the finances were pilfered from fraudsters. Improved education for both conveyancer and client and the use of enhanced due diligence technology such as account verification tools or OnDMARC facilities, could have prevented these devastating crimes from succeeding. 

Not all instances of lost money are caused by fraud as was highlighted last week when a man submitted an incorrect sort code. 

Peter Teich was set to receive a £193,000 inheritance payment via a bank transfer. However, having submitted account number and sort code, his inheritance ended up in another account because one digit was incorrect. 

Having contacted the bank, who then made contact with the inadvertent beneficiary, Teich was left devastated after being informed the person was unwilling to relinquish the money.  

Furthermore, Teich was forced to spend £12,000 just to learn the beneficiary’s name. Fortunately, this story has a happy ending as Barclay’s refunded Teich and the unwitting beneficiary finally returned the money.

The stories stand as a cautionary tale – legal service practitioners who fail to fully protect a transaction by using enhanced due diligence tools stand every chance of losing their reputations and client funds because criminals are succeeding!   

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 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.  
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