Published on 21/02/2017
The Safe Buyer Scheme has today announced new National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) crime figures which show an 85% year-on-year increase in stolen buyer’s deposits. In 2015 there were 86 recorded losses and now this has increased to 159 losses for 2016, that’s more than 1 every other working day!
John Ahmed, Director of the Safe Buyer Scheme said “We are seeing new techniques of impersonation and deception being used in these frauds which makes the Safe Buyer bank account check an essential tool to prevent client loss, possible legal action and impending reputational damage as a result of fraud.” John expressed his concerned at the increase in buyer deposit redirection fraud and added “The email footer warnings and locked PDFs with bank account details, both of which are widely used by conveyancers, have not reduced this fraud. To the contrary the figures for 2016 have nearly doubled from the previous year. I am in support of conveyancers using every possible method to protect their clients, however the safest approach for conveyancers is to use Safe Buyer so clients can independently verify conveyancer’s bank details.”
The Safe Buyer Scheme has reported on new fraud methods being used where clients have received telephone calls from fraudsters impersonating their conveyancer’s accounts department. These calls are made just after the buyer has received their final report and the fraudster requests that funds are transferred to a bogus client account. The impersonator knows the client’s transaction details and appears very convincing as a result. John explained “buyer deposit redirection fraud preys on the trust between a client and their conveyancer and if an imposter is convincing enough they can render email warnings and locked PDFs ineffective.”
“I would advise firms to be cautious when using clever methods to send their bank account details to clients as this just creates greater opportunities for fraudsters to replicate or hack the process and gain even greater trust from the client to trick them. The ultimate solution is to use Safe Buyer which advises clients to use the independent bank account validation tool, which is proven to detect and prevent fraud. Then it is up to the client to choose whether to use it or take the risk. Safe Buyer is free for conveyancers to use, is proven to detect and prevent this fraud, keeps clients safe and protects conveyancer’s reputations.”