Settlement conveyancing con by scammers triggers warning to property sellers

Settlement conveyancing con by scammers triggers warning to property sellers
Settlement conveyancing con by scammers triggers warning to property sellers

Two South Australian property buyers have been defrauded out of $900,000 by scammers using bogus email details to pose as their conveyancers.

The Australian Institute of Conveyancers has referred it to the police.

The institute's South Australian CEO Rebecca Hayes said the scammers sent fake emails to conveyancers' clients last month with instructions on where to send large sums of money for their property settlements.

The cyber scammers intercepted regular emails to changing the bank account details.

"The client then pays money into what they believe is the conveyancer's trust account but unfortunately it's an account owned and operated by the cyber criminal and the money goes there and unfortunately disappears," Ms Hayes said.

Property buyers should verify trust account information before transferring money, and said the scam had claimed other victims interstate.

The scam has occurred previously in Western Australian earlier this year when a father and son buying a property south of Perth uncovered an email scam that could have cost them $200,000.

However, they noticed the email address was slightly different to their agency's and checked before confirming the request was fake.

But an elderly woman has been robbed of more than half a million dollars after scammers pretended to be her settlement agent and convinced her son to transfer cash into a bogus account.

The 83-year-old woman was one of six people targeted by similar cyber attacks in two months.

An email asked for $558,000 as the final payment for the property to be transferred into an account.

By the time the son realised it was fake, it was too late.

In August two clients of another western suburbs settlement agency lost $25,658 after emails were intercepted, and three payments towards property purchases were sent to scam bank accounts.

Rebecca Hayes said efforts were being made to recover the money but the SA scam could potentially cause a property settlement contract to become void if the funds could not be met within the settlement period.

Tags: 
Asic Fraud

Community Discussion

Be the first one to comment on this article
What would you like to say about this project?