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  • Writer's pictureThe Cedar Crest Team

How to avoid conveyancing fraud

Understand the risks to avoid losing your mortgage deposit


THE IMPORTANCE OF YOUR MORTGAGE DEPOSIT


There are a few bank transfers you’ll ever make as large and important as your mortgage deposit.


When buying a house, you’ll be asked to move this money to your solicitor or conveyancer by bank transfer to complete your purchase.


Unfortunately, fraudsters are well aware of this opportunity to intercept large sums of money and they frequently target homebuyers.

Here are some tips to help you avoid becoming a victim of conveyancing fraud.

 


CHOOSING THE RIGHT CONVEYANCER


If you wait until you’ve found your dream home before appointing a conveyancer, you might have to rush to find one and keep the transaction moving.


You’ll be in a stronger position if you look for a conveyancer before you look at properties, so you can take your time to find the right one.


What you need to find out:


Are they licensed and legitimate?

You can check this with the Solicitors Regulation Authority or the Council of Licensed Conveyancers.


Do they specialise in conveyancing?

You may be able to find a great price with a generalist solicitor, but a specialist will likely offer a better service.


Will you be assigned a dedicated case handler?

It’s helpful to know you’ll be in touch with just one individual from the beginning of the process to the end.


Do they offer digital services?

If you can upload documents, complete paperwork and access your case details online, the process will likely be smoother and more secure.


 

UNDERSTANDING THE RISKS OF FRAUD


There are various types of fraud that you should be aware of, in conveyancing and more broadly:


• Debit/credit card fraud, where scammers will steal and use your card details


• Bank account fraud, where scammers will trick you into revealing your bank account login information


• Identity theft, where scammers will use your personal details to open new accounts


• Phishing, where scammers will send emails to trick you into revealing personal and financial information


• Bank transfer fraud, where scammers will trick you into sending funds to the wrong account


This last one is the biggest risk in the conveyancing process.


Since you’re expecting to make a large bank transfer, scammers will see an easy opportunity to trick you into sending it to the wrong recipient.


 

BEING INFORMED ABOUT HOW IT WORKS


To help prevent conveyancing fraud, it helps to be informed about how it works.


Typically, the scammer will interrupt email conversations between you and your conveyancer, posing as them or as another solicitor, and provide bank details for you to make the transfer to.


By the time you realise the scam has taken place, it may be too late to trace your money.


To avoid this, ask your conveyancer to send you their bank details by post, rather than by email, soon after you appoint them.


If you later receive a request to pay a different account, you can take steps to verify that request.


Any time you receive an email from your conveyancer, you should double-check the email address to ensure it is the same one you usually communicate with.


Scammers may use tiny differences in spelling to pose as someone else. If you have any doubts about the source of an email, call your conveyancer on a verified phone number to ask them to confirm that they sent it.


Be particularly suspicious of new individuals becoming involved in the conveyancing process at a late stage, even if they claim to work for the firm you have appointed.


 

>> KNOW WHAT TYPE OF MORTGAGE YOU NEED?<<


We want to help get any generation on the property ladder, from the first-time buyer to the last-time buyer.


To discuss your requirement, please contact Cedar Crest Ltd – telephone

UK T: +44 (0) 203 883 1017, HK T: +852 6645 4462 – email info@cedar-crest.co.uk


Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage.

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