Ricochet News

Tips to avoid becoming a victim when purchasing property

By Bardine Hall (BA LLB) - Jul 17, 2018
Tips to avoid becoming a victim when purchasing property

Email hacking scams are on the increase. Money intended to be paid as the purchase price of property, transfer costs and fees are the target of online theft.

Hackers gain access to the email accounts of the seller, purchaser or the conveyancing attorneys and use the addresses to communicate fraudulent banking details. Parties are usually unsuspecting as they expect the emails and the emails form part of an existing chain of correspondence. The unsuspecting victim ends up paying the fraudster instead of the intended recipient.

To avoid falling victim to these scams experts recommend the following measures:

  1. Know your service provider/attorney/conveyancer and always personally verify any change in payment instruction.
  2. Before making a payment, request the contact person that you have been dealing with at the business or firm of attorneys to confirm the amount and their banking details telephonically or to provide you with other proof of their banking details;
  3. Treat any email notification of a change of banking details with suspicion. Rather obtain telephonic confirmation or confirmation in person of the change in banking details.
  4. Do not click reply to an email when you are sending important information. Instead create a new email and type in the email address afresh or select the address from you address book. In this way you can avoid replying to a fake email address that looks similar to the correct email address.
  5. Cooperate with your attorney when proof of your banking details are required in the form of an original bank statement or cancelled cheque.
  6. It is not always practical to make personal contact with parties involved in transactions in our fast-paced, digital age however it imperative to verify bank details in person.

Contact our professional team on Tel 041 5019800 for assistance on your property related matters.