Mortgage Deposit Fraud – What You Need To Know
Make Sure Your Property Deposit Funds Get Into The Right Hands
If you are sending any kind of deposit funds for a property-related transaction, reading this quick guide could help stop you losing thousands of pounds to fraudsters in the latest online scam.
When purchasing a property, whether it is residential or Buy to Let, at some point you’re going to have to transfer a serious amount of cash for your deposit, cash which online fraudsters would much prefer in their own account
It is a sorry state of affairs to say the scammers are now attacking your emails and phones to intercept these transfers, with mortgage deposit fraud on the rise, the worst part being – that sometimes they win.
But, What Is Mortgage Deposit Fraud?
One of the most ruthless financial scams now out there, mortgage deposit fraud is where cyber crooks hack into emails and correspondence between you and your solicitor to gather key information about your property transaction. The scammers will then send an email at the perfect time, impersonating your solicitor to give ‘new’ bank details for your deposit funds, encouraging you to send your mortgage deposit to the new sort code and account number as soon as possible. It’s also been known that fraudsters will call you and impersonate your solicitor’s office, again presenting their own bank details.
Unless you are highly vigilant, your funds could be on their way to a fraudster’s account and not the correct destination; your solicitor’s client account.
After receiving your funds, your money will be immediately transferred on from this ‘fake’ account, making it difficult to track and impossible to retrieve. It sounds very simple but don’t be fooled, these scams are often highly sophisticated and the emails can be extremely convincing with matching email addresses and matching company logos, in other words these emails can look exactly as though they are from your solicitor, but with vital account details changed.
We are sad to say that many people have fallen victim to this type of cybercrime recently, but there are a few simple ways to avoid getting duped.
What You Can Do to Avoid Getting Scammed
Ensure that you avoid using standard email communications, especially when sending sensitive documents such as ID or bank statements for example.
As a business, we strongly advocate the use of a portal where your documents can be uploaded as secure communications, or many firms have a document upload facility as we do, utilising file encryption such as Citrix Sharefile.
This is just one of the ways we are staying ahead and helping landlords to stay safe online. For maximum protection, we recommend following these 6 straight-forward security rules:
- NEVER email any confidential documents to anyone unless they are password protected or encrypted. This will give you added security even if your emails are intercepted. Wherever possible utilise encrypted document facilities or upload directly to the business. This will give you full peace of mind that your documents are being transferred securely to the right person.
- NEVER make a payment purely in response to an inbound phone call. Trust your instincts, if a caller starts phishing for details, verify the call is authentic. Avoid giving out your sort code and bank account.
- ALWAYS independently validate any payment requests. If you are unsure, it is always best to double-check the company’s credentials and email address, call the company back on what you know to be their valid and correct phone number to validate and verify any payment requests, so you are 100% sure before you send funds
- ALWAYS utilise anti-virus software on your computer or device. Remember it is also not enough to have the software installed, make sure the software is kept up to date to stop any new malignant attacks.
- REGULARLY change your email password to limit the risk of scammers hacking into your account. Complex passwords containing a mix of lower case, upper case, special characters and numbers is a recommended format. We know it seems logical to use memorable words or phrases but it is best to use words that others will not be able to guess. Password1 is never a good option, even if it is easy to remember.
- ONLY EVER send your deposit monies once you know for certain that the account details are 100% genuine and verified.
If you have any concerns at all, contact your bank immediately. They will be able to help take the necessary steps to secure your bank account and potentially retrieve funds.
If you need to send any personal documents for your next Buy to Let mortgage, head over to www.thebuytoletbroker.co.uk/secure-send and remember to verify any account details independently for which you are requested to send money. You can also upload documents to us through your client portal.
We want to do all we can to help keep your money safe, so if you have any further questions about mortgage deposit fraud or how to stay safe when applying for a mortgage via us, you can speak to any of our mortgage advisors today on 08009499410 or by using the simple callback form below.