Homebuyers warned to beware fraudsters

London is the worst city in the UK for conveyancing fraud, with around one in ten house buyers targeted by conmen.

Research by Barclays Bank found that a growing number of unscrupulous operators are posing as solicitors, estate agents or even the buyer themselves in order to fleece victims.

While other urban centres such as Liverpool, Bristol and Birmingham are also hotspots for conveyancing scams – London has by far the highest concentration.

In total, 13 per cent of buyers have reported being targeted, with young people (aged 25 to 34) understood to be at particular risk.

Ashok Vaswani, chief executive of Barclays UK, said: “As a society our confidence in using digital technology to shop, pay our bills and connect with others has grown faster than our knowledge of how to do so safely.

“This has created a ‘digital safety gap’ which is being exploited by criminals. I believe the need to fight fraud has now become a national resilience issue, and we all need to boost our digital safety levels in order to close the gap.”

Speaking last year, Beth Rudolf, director of delivery at the Conveyancing Association, said: “Clearly when it comes to cyberfraud and fraud, the criminals do not stand still and are always looking at new ways and means to secure the large sums of money involved in the conveyancing process.”

If you need guidance with any aspect of a property transaction, please contact the head of the Property team Michael Stock or visit.

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