Homebuying clients need to be “fraud-aware”, says regulator

The Council for Licensed Conveyancers has warned home-buyers to be ‘fraud-aware’, following new research into property crime.

Its poll found that 90 per cent of professional conveyancers put fraud awareness as the most important aspect of homebuying they wanted clients to be aware of.

The research follows a number of reports into ‘Friday afternoon fraud’ – a type of fraud that involves tricking a client, usually by email, into sending funds to a criminal’s bank account.

Although it can happen on any day of the week, Friday is the most common day to be tricked as this is the time most completions take place.

Property fraud is one of the most common and most dangerous kinds of fraud, as the cash involved often runs into the tens of thousands of pounds.

The Solicitor’s Regulation Authority found last year that fraudulent conveyancing transactions cost consumers around £7 million.

Stephen Ward, Director of Strategy at the CLC, says: “We work closely with all of our regulated firms to ensure that their communication with clients is clear and that, particularly first-time buyers, are made aware of the various stages which the home-buying process entails.

“Increasingly sophisticated fraud schemes mean that clear, direct communication between client and consumer has never been more important and we aim to make consumers as aware as possible of the risks so that they are suitably protected.”

The SRA recommends that people avoid sharing bank details over email, or transferring money before confirming the source of any request.

Carter Lemon Camerons LLP (CLC) solicitors is a City law firm which provides legal services with a personal touch for first-time buyers and experienced landlords alike. Unlike many City practices, we are happy to act in smaller private legal matters, bringing the same care and consideration as we do to large commercial matters. For more information about our residential services, please contact Prodromos Shakallis or telephone: 020 7406 1000.