Scammers attempt to steal $200,000: Settlement agents bulletin Issue 69 (April 2017)

This publication is for: 
Property industry

The Department has received another report of a scam attempt.  Fortunately, the scam was thwarted by the property buyer’s attention to detail. 

The scammer attempted to divert settlement funds from the buyer into their own bank account, by creating an email address similar to that used by the settlement agent. 

The attempt failed because the buyer noticed the discrepancy and contacted the settlement agent using previously verified contact details.  

The media statement contains further details.

While this scam was aimed at the buyer, it is an important reminder to real estate agents to be wary, as it shows scammers are constantly finding new ways to target individuals and businesses.

To help you and your business avoid being scammed, you should have practices in place to:

  • check the email address when a request to authorise payment, change bank account particulars or contact details is received;
  • verify the authenticity of requests by using known contact details already on file – it’s advisable to phone the sender; and
  • enter payee details manually on each occasion, rather than storing them within the bank account, as scammers may gain access to the payees list.

Details of previous scam attempts and advice can be found in Settlement industry bulletin Issue 59 and Settlement industry bulletin Issue 61.

Consumer Protection
Bulletin
Last updated 11 Apr 2017

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