Many lawyers and buyers unaware of property scams

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A new survey has shown that many lawyers and property buyers are at risk from property fraud.

GlobalX surveyed property law and conveyancing professionals and found that 46% were unaware of the latest phishing scams aimed at property buyers and investors.

Peter Maloney, GlobalX CEO, said that fraudsters have illicitly accessed client lists of conveyancers, then impersonated them in emails to advise of a change in property trust account details. Victims would then transfer funds to purchase money to the alternate account.

“Conveyancers need to be aware and so do property buyers,” Maloney said. “This survey highlights the importance of lawyers and conveyancers knowing more about what risks they, and their clients, can face, and providing advice to their clients as to how they can protect themselves.”

Last year, eight people from South Australia and Western Australia were defrauded out of millions by the scheme, GlobalX said.

“We advise all property lawyers and conveyancers to inform their clients about scams and let them know that they would never contact them via email to change such crucial financial details as property trust account details,” Maloney said.

Shane Jacob, president of the Australian Institute of Conveyancers, said that it is vital for both buyers and conveyancers to be more informed.

“If you receive an email that you think is suspicious, buyers should be calling their conveyancer to confirm it is legitimate,” Jacob said. “Scammers are getting smarter, so property buyers and their legal representation need to be aware in order to protect themselves.”

The survey was conducted by GlobalX to coincide with National Scams Awareness week. The conveyancing technology experts said resource kits with information about the latest online threats and how to deal with them can be found on the Stay Smart Online website published by the federal government.


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