New campaign aims to help conveyancers protect themselves and clients from fraud

Statistics from the City of London Police have shown that property buyers are being defrauded out of £16 million each year in London alone through money redirection fraud or property fraud, which occurs when a fraudster impersonates a conveyancer during a property transaction.

The UK’s independent crime-fighting charity, Crimestoppers has joined forces with Safe Buyer Scheme to launch a national consumer fraud campaign to raise awareness of fraudsters who intercept money during the property purchase process. The Home Buyers Safety Campaign aims to alert buyers to property fraud and encourage them to choose a conveyancing firm that’s committed to protecting their clients against fraud and financial loss.

Roger Critchell, Director of Operations for Crimestoppers, said: “We hope that we are raising awareness of fraudsters who look to intercept money during the house buying process, while also asking for the public’s help in trying to reduce the number of incidents”.

The Home Buyers Safety Campaign has a built-in feature that enables property buyers to search for the name and location of a conveyancing firm registered with Safe Buyer Scheme. More than seven-hundred conveyancing firms are registered on the scheme to demonstrate their support for the campaign, while non-member firms are encouraged to sign-up to the anti-fraud initiative. The scheme also incorporates a proprietor check enabling conveyancers on both sides of the transaction to work together to provide the required information on the seller, which can be used to verify the owner of the property.

Despite increased awareness of fraud within the conveyancing industry, firms and their clients have a concern still about the growing risks of fraud. However The Law Society provides resources to help solicitors stay informed about how they can protect themselves and their clients from fraud and scams. Since last year the UK government has been planning to digitise the property market for enabling more security during the process of buying and selling property.

A leading provider of the advanced e-signing software, Bonafidee is helping solicitors and organisations convert their paper-based documentation into a digital process in which contracts can be safely and securely e-signed to help organisations meet their due diligence obligations.

“Like all businesses operating today, solicitors need to take steps to keep themselves and their clients safe”. President of The Law Society of England and Wales, Joe Egan continued: “The solicitor profession do this every day, but must remain constantly vigilant”.

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