We want to make you aware that fraudsters are currently hacking into email chains between a house buyer or seller and their solicitors.
The fraudster monitors the communications using malware that looks for key words like house purchase, deposit, buy and payment – and then they make their move.
They hack into the email account and contact the client disguised as the solicitor’s company they have been liaising with.
The fraudsters tell the client by email that the solicitor’s bank account details have changed or they amend the account number before the client gets it. The fraudsters give the details of the ‘new’ account for the deposit to be sent.
Unknowingly, the client transfers their money to the ‘new’ false account. The false account is owned by the fraudster, leaving the solicitor or client at a substantial financial loss.
Unfortunately in these circumstances, the lender cannot recover the funds because they were an authorised payment.
Buyers/sellers protection advice
• Don’t feel pressured into changing any bank details. If you receive an email stating a change in the bank details, you should ring the solicitors on a previously used telephone number.
• Check the email address carefully and if in doubt, phone the solicitor to check the information is correct.
• Buyers and sellers should avoid using public Wi-Fi systems to check emails when house purchases are being made. Fraudsters can easily hack into vulnerable Wi-Fi systems.
• Avoid sharing social media posts about buying/selling your house. Fraudsters may get hold of this information and know the next step is a large financial transaction.