Property Industry Fraud – Email Scam

As part of our dedicated service to all partners and future partners of the Intelligent Services Group, we aim to keep you protected and up to date with the latest activities within the legal sector that directly affect all those within the property industry.

The Property Ombudsman (TPO) has issued a warning to all agents advising they act with caution as fraudulent ‘buyers’ target agents with the latest computer virus scam.
TPO has been alerted to a case by a member agent who received emails from a potential buyer in China. The individual emailed the branch several times expressing a keen interest in making a full asking price offer on a property.

The agent, suspicious of the buyer’s eagerness to act quickly without having viewed the property, asked the individual to send over all personal details including identification documents. When the email came through, the attachments were difficult to open. The agent passed the email to their IT department who confirmed that it contained a series of potentially destructive computer viruses.

TPO is unsure to what impact the viruses could have had if it had not been identified, but fortunately, in this case, the scam was spotted, and no company or customer details were compromised.

How to protect against email fraud

  • Remain vigilant and always be wary of emails that seem too good to be true.
  • Always double check the sender’s address, this can often offer clues as to whether they are legitimate or not.
  • Do not open email attachments from unknown sources or, if possible, use a high quality and up to date virus scan on the attachments.
  • Be cautious of embedded email links; hover your mouse over the link to see if you’re being directed to a different site.

If you have received any suspicious emails, they should be reported to Action Fraud immediately by visiting www.actionfraud.police.uk/report_fraud or by calling 0300 123 2040.

Scam and rogue trader complaints should be reported to Trading Standards via Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 0345 4040 506

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