Home buyers warned of cruel scam that could trick you into handing hundreds of thousands of pounds to fraudsters

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  • Potential home buyers are being warned of a cruel scam that could easily trick them into handing over hundreds of thousands of pounds of their house budget to fraudsters.

    Buying a house isn’t always easy; dealing with banks, stamp duty, figuring out how to get a mortgage and understanding mortgage rates can be tricky.

    Unfortunately, the process is now a whole lot harder, with prospective home owners being warned of being duped out out huge sums of money, amid a rise in hackers intercepting emails between them and solicitors.

    According to The Law Society, there has been an alarming increase in these types of scams, with victims losing hundreds of thousands of pounds.

    Property purchases are being targeted by fraudsters who aim to lure buyers into transferring their mortgage deposit or the balance of the purchase price to them. The fraudsters nearly always pose as the victims’ lawyers in order to dupe them into sending their money to a bank account controlled by them.

    home buyer mortgage scam

    Credit: Getty

    Scammers attempt to mimic all transaction details before requesting payment through a phoney email account that looks exactly like the solicitor’s.

    Exposing the scam and warning people to stay vigilant, Stephanie Boyce, president of the Law Society, said, “We are urging our members to share these flyers with their clients in order to help protect them from these highly-sophisticated and cruel schemes.

    “These frauds can involve huge sums of money and have a devastating lifelong impact on the home buyer and their personal finances.”

    The Law Society of England and Wales has teamed up with the National Economic Crime Centre (NECC) and Action Fraud to issue warnings of the dangers of payment diversions fraud.

    Housing fraud is on the rise as a result of the economic downturn and the current high volume of transactions now taking place, according to Jon Shilland, Fraud Threat Lead at the NECC.

    For those unsure about a payment request, Jon advises,”Whenever a client is making a payment to their solicitor for a house purchase, they should be highly suspicious of any change in account details or new instructions.

    “Remind them to always check with a trusted known contact, and if they have any doubt not to transfer the money.”