Payment Diversion Scams – Home Buyers

Home buyers in the UK are being targeted by criminals to pay away considerable sums of money via what are called ‘Payment Diversion Scams’.

Typically, the scammers infiltrate the solicitor’s email account and once they’ve analysed the contents of the compromised account, they usually have enough information to write a convincing / legitimate-looking email to existing clients, requesting money to be paid (e.g. deposits for purchases) to accounts controlled by fraudsters.

The sums involved are significant due to the nature of the transactions, often property purchases. Losses such as these can result in property sales falling through and huge emotional distress to clients affected, either directly or within the chain.

To help mitigate this type of scam, we suggest that warnings are placed on all correspondence between yourselves and your clients.

As an extra precaution, to ensure the security of your company’s email accounts, databases and other systems, the general advice is as follows:

– Keep Anti-Virus software up to date
– Keep Anti-Malware software up to date
– Have a strong firewall and keep it up to date
– Update computer and browser security patches regularly / as soon as the updates become available
– Avoid the use of out-dated / unsupported software

Further advice can be found here: https://www.getsafeonline.org/business/

*Take Five is a national awareness campaign led by FFA UK (part of UK Finance), backed by Her Majesty’s Government and delivered with and through a range of partners in the UK payments industry, financial services firms, law enforcement agencies, telecommunication providers, commercial, public and third sector, which urges you to stop and consider whether the situation is genuine – to stop and think if what you’re being told really makes sense. Read more at https://takefive-stopfraud.org.uk/