Property fraud – What you need to be aware of and what you can do to help prevent being scammed…

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In our progressively digital world, we wanted to bring your attention to a prevalent scam which all home buyers should be aware of. It’s known as ‘Friday Afternoon Fraud’ and in this article we take you through what can happen, and what you can do to prevent it.

The increasingly common ‘Friday Afternoon Fraud’ involves criminals pretending to be conveyancers by hacking into emails, spoofing them so that they look exactly like an email from your conveyancer, and asking you to transfer money to them.

It is often done just before the weekend (hence the name) and during the completion rush, to pressure clients into parting with their money. Of course, the fraudulent email will contain the criminal’s specified bank account, not your law firm’s bank account. The fraudulent email often appears genuine, as criminals are becoming more adept at using software to hack into emails and replicate them.

This scam targets everyone, whether they are new to house purchasing or a seasoned expert. It is unfortunate that in a constantly evolving digital world, criminals also evolve and take advantage of others. At Awdry Law we remain constantly vigilant to cyber security threats.

What you can do to prevent being scammed

It is a good idea to ensure that you are using very secure passwords and regularly changing them, as well as keeping your anti-virus software up to date. There is now anti-virus software available for mobile phones and other devices too.

Using a password manager is a good idea, particularly if you struggle to keep track of all your different passwords. Also, try to avoid using insecure, public networks to make payments, such as free wi-fi networks in local cafes.

At Awdry Law, we encourage clients to ring us to double check our bank details before they transfer any money to us. If you are at all worried about an email you have received you can call your conveyancer directly to check, they will be more than happy to speak to you.

You may wish to send us a small amount of money first (for example £1) and then call us to check that we have received your money. This is a good way to ensure that you have not been scammed and you can then safely send the remainder of your funds to us.

We will always call you to verify the bank details you have provided to us before we send any funds back to you. We also supply a hard copy of our bank details, so that you can be sure they are correct and we will never change our bank details during your transaction with us.

If you have concerns at any point during your transaction, please do not hesitate to contact us. We will be happy to assist you in any way we can.

Alistair Everett

Partner and Head of Conveyancing

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