Property Industry Fraud – Email Scam

Posted on 28th September 2017 by Jordan Holmes

As part of our dedicated service to all partners and future partners of IAM Sold, 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 to 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 his IT department who confirmed that it contained a series of potentially destructive computer viruses.

TPO is unsure to what impact the viruses could have 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

Jordan Holmes

Marketing Executive

My name is Jordan Holmes and I am the Marketing Executive at Intelligent Services Group. I have a BA (Hons) in Marketing and Advertising Management which I obtained from Leeds Metropolitan University. I have a keen interest in rugby union, golf, football, weight training and scuba diving. I also have a passion for music and travel. Read more posts from Jordan
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Responding to your reply on my initial review. The Rental charge wasn't on the starter pack because we looked so your claim is incorrect. The reason for the delay was because the seller solicitor blatantly refused to pay the rental charge and we decided to pay it because of the time wasted, and our solicitor needed to notify our lender about this rental charge development because no one from our side knew about this until the last minute, if this rental charge was stated from the beginning the lender would have been notified earlier and it would have been sorted out earlier. The idea of putting down a non refundable deposit only gives room for yourselves , the buyer and their solicitors to treat the seller how ever they like because they have nothing to lose. When this issue started we called Iam sold and no one could tell us anything, kept putting us on hold and saying there is nothing they can do then wait. So what exactly did you do again? Its not like we had a choice to buy the house without paying the fee, so yes we paid it but that doesn't mean we enjoyed paying it because it was fair. After the fee was paid all the initial interest and treatment stopped and no one cared to resolved the issue or give us a straight answer. Anyway you asked for a review, this is how we felt. Like i said never felt this frustrated in any other purchase i have made.
Fee was just too high and i didn't feel like they did anything to warrant the fee, said house would complete soon but it completed over 6 weeks after we were told it would complete. Seller said no other fees associated with the house and all of a sudden after everything was done boom! they revealed the house had a rent charge attached to it. The most frustrating purchase i have done. Never using this auction again.
Really happy with the sale of our property. Great help, would use again!!