Deposit Scam Warnings – Landlords, Investors and Tenants Beware
Online fraudsters are concertedly targeting home buyers, new investors in the private rented sector and tenants with a new deposit scam that can cost up to £120,000 in just one transaction.
A London and international residential property specialist is warning private investors, those landlords wishing to expand their portfolio and surprisingly prospective tenants that they are all at risk.
The firm says that the deposit scam can target private tenants when going through the tenancy procedures at the precise time when they are required to pay the advance rent and deposits.
Police believe they have uncovered how the fraud is committed. The fraudsters hack into emails between, buyers, vendors, solicitors, tenants, estate and letting agents and are more than likely operated by overseas criminal organisations.
Once having gleaned the required information they then send out apparent bona fide emails and time them correctly on the day of a sale completion. The content of the email specifically asks the buyer or their solicitor to arrange the transfer money to a specified bank account. Once the money is received the bank account and the money instantly disappear.
The criminal gangs have in some instances ‘borrowed’ their targets’ mobile or landline number and transferred it to their own, so when the necessary checks are made it is the criminals that are asked for the confirmation details of the transfer.
Action Fraud, the UK’s national fraud and cyber crime reporting centre, had 91 cases of these types of deposit scam up to October 2016.
The Deputy Head of Action Fraud, Steve Proffitt, comments:
“We are getting more and more instances of this deposit scam. The outcome for the fraudster is tremendous. They can earn £1m on the sale of a house in the South East.”
The residential property specialist says that these cyber criminals are only too aware of the specific timings of each stage involved when purchasing a house and know when homes know when deposits need to be transferred; this also includes tenancy deposits and advance rent.
A spokesperson, for the company, said: “You should be careful about how much information you share, especially if there is no pre-existing relationship with the firm that you’re contacting.”
Richard Merrick of PIMS, said: “Our website policy is not to carry any advertisements or feature company names in the news as it will be seen as our endorsement; however we have been made aware that landlords in England and Wales are subject to a deposits scam.
“Mydeposits landlords and letting agent members are being sent authentic looking emails purporting to be from the company asking them to click onto the link so that they can be sent ‘Important Messages’.
Richard added: “If you do believe that a similar email is questionable then contact mydeposits direct.”