Warning: new email scam alert

Most solicitors and conveyancers are aware of the potential frauds and scams they and their clients can get caught up in if they are not constantly vigilant. Emails can be monitored and virtually duplicated in order to divert deposit and or completion funds to bogus accounts. Passports (and other documents) can be obtained or forged to convince the unsuspecting (and sometimes even the suspecting) that the bearers of them own properties they don’t.

Yesterday, I was told about a new scam that purported to come from some estate agents. An email, along the lines set out below was sent to a client of Bold Legal Group member’s Warner Goodman, Solicitors in Hampshire. The situation, as explained by partner Sarah Brooks, was that her client received the following:


I believe it is now appropriate to request from you the deposit fund as I am delighted to hold the deposit monies strictly to your order until exchange
Please note that I must receive these funds by bank transfer preferably tomorrow so I can confirm this to the sellers solicitors, as soon as you are ready to make settlement the conveyancing bank details will be sent to you upon request of payment


Luckily Warner Goodman’s client checked the position with the firm’s conveyancer, but the client said she may well have sent some money to the fraudster if she had not already been asked for the deposit by Warner Goodman.

Warner Goodman and other firms can include even more warning messages on their client care letters and other correspondence. However, Sarah wanted the issue highlighted so that estate agents can inform their clients that they will never request deposit funds to be sent to an account and to only communicate with the genuine solicitor/conveyancer regarding the deposit. Sarah said, “may be estate agents are doing this already but this case was a near miss.”

Do many estate agents actually warn buyers and sellers about the threats that exist?

Warner Goodman have stated: “The email was purporting to be from the Agents – the only thing missing from email was the Agent’s logo.  The Agents were informed immediately and they are making sure future clients are warned of this.  They do not wish to be named.”

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