Scams are a hot-button issue at the moment. From the thousands of scam calls Australians receive every day, to the latest Optus and Telstra data breaches, there’s plenty to be concerned about.
Australia’s property market has not been spared from the snares of local and international scammers. With billions at stake, expert scammers are now using their wiles to target people hoping to secure their first home, find their next viable investment property, or even sell the family property.
Anyone can fall victim to a property scam – experienced investors, the tech-savvy, and even real estate agents. More money than ever is being traded hands in Australian property. It’s up to everyone to be vigilant to protect what’s rightfully theirs.
There are two main reasons why scams are so prolific in settlement matters. For one, there is so much money at stake. Secondly, this money is often poorly protected. These two factors have seen almost $3.4 million in hard-earned deposits fall into the hands of scammers in the last calendar year.
Traditionally, property settlement scams involved fabricating documents such as land titles and deeds. Foraging signatures was also a rife practice until digital safeguards were introduced. But as with many other things, the advent of the digital world often creates more opportunities for scammers to take advantage.
Property scams often start as an email targeting buyers and sellers looking like it comes directly from a real estate agent or broker. This email will push the reader to transfer their deposit into a “subsidiary trust” – not the usual account details of the institution – because of an “ongoing audit”.
In reality, these account details will belong to a scammer, one who will keep the hapless buyer on the hook for a few days, reassuring them until the transfer is cleared by the bank. They then simply disappear into the ether, never to contact the buyer again.
Payment redirection scams, business email fabrications, phishing exercises, and spam phone calls all plague the property settlement market. With the value of houses increasing in almost every jurisdiction in Australia, they are becoming more and more frequent.
One of the best ways you can combat scamming is by working with a professional conveyancer with the highest regard for your safety. The team at Complete Conveyancing Solutions can help you navigate the sometimes treacherous waters of negotiation to ensure that you are always protected.
Complete Conveyancing Solutions works for both property buyers and sellers to help them find success in settlement. With over 20 years of experience, they’ve dealt with all kinds of attempts at fraud. Their guided, one-on-one process ensures that nothing is missed, and that your personal details are always protected.
Complete Conveyancing Solutions can also promote security through several modern safeguards. They are one of the few conveyancing agencies to use PEXA, a safe and secure property settlement platform. PEXA is the only digital property settlement platform available in Australia, and for good reason.
During the settlement process, PEXA can verify documents with state land registries, ensuring that everything is above board before a sale proceeds. There’s no need for buyers to sign paper cheques or transfer documents, cutting down on the opportunity for fraud.
Towards the end of the settlement process, PEXA can prevent digital fraud by enabling the secure communication of bank account details. It can also process digital transfers as cleared funds, so you always know where your money is.
Complete Conveyancing Solutions have several ways of communicating with their clients. We ensure that bank account details are not exchanged via email and are communicated via a PEXA app called PEXA key. This is a secure app which allows buyers and sellers to track the progress of their matter which includes a safeguard to communicating bank account details. The PEXA key app has been designed to eliminate the risk of email phishing, which enables you to provide bank account details securely.
Don’t let the current news of scamming in property scare you. Although there’s a lot at stake, there are more protections than ever to ensure that your money gets where it needs to be. You just need to go with a conveyancer you can trust.
Work with Complete Conveyancing Solutions and PEXA for your peace of mind. The meticulous approach by the Director, Maria Tomlinson, and a combination of people and technology will provide you with the confidence to make the property buying and selling decisions process with ease.