WARNING: Scammers ripping off home buyers
MILLIONS of dollars have been lost to scammers intercepting property transactions already this year, but there is something you can do to protect yourself.
Conveyancing technology experts GlobalX has revealed that many who operate within the industry are unaware that scammers are successfully ripping off buyers already in Australia.
CEO Peter Maloney said millions had been lost in transactions.
The common rort involves scammers hacking conveyancers' client lists, impersonating them and emailing their clients to advise them the property trust account details had changed so clients would transfer property purchase funds into a fraudulent account.
Mr Maloney said he was aware of instances of money being stolen this way in both South Australia and Western Australia where eight buyers were targeted and lost millions.
Mr Maloney said if you were paying a $200,000 deposit to buy and house and put it into a scammers account unknowingly it could be almost impossible to trace and retrieve it.
He said the buyer was not the only one affected as transactions could then fall through and the seller would have to market their home again.
But he said there was one very simple thing buyers could do to avoid being caught - make a phone call.
Any email asking for funds to be transferred should be verified with a phone call before any money was released.
"Pick up the phone and ask them,'' he said.
"It really is that simple''.
Australian Institute of Conveyancers President Shane Jacob echoed the call for all involved in the property purchase process to be diligent.
"It is vital that buyers and conveyancers become more informed. If you receive an email that you think is suspicious, buyers should be calling their conveyancer to confirm it is legitimate," Mr Jacob said.
"Scammers are getting smarter, so property buyers and their legal representation need to be aware in order to protect themselves."