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27 February 2017

What are we doing to protect your transactions from scams?


We all use email because it is a quick, easy and universally accepted way to communicate in both our business and personal lives, but it is easy to forget that the system wasn’t designed with security in mind.

The property industry is particularly at risk of email payment fraud because significant amounts of money are sent on exchange of contracts and on completion.  The fraudsters are sophisticated enough to use this transactional pattern to their advantage.

How does email payment fraud occur in property transactions?

We take prudent steps to try to protect the security of our own systems, but fraudsters may intercept communications by accessing servers and devices outside our control. Fraudsters “listen” to email traffic and follow the progress of a transaction.  They may send an email purporting to be from us either unusually early asking to be put in funds or an email later in the transaction asking for money to be paid into a different bank account from that given initially. These emails can appear to be genuine and, if acted upon, the money is quickly moved on by fraudsters so that it cannot be traced.

How can we work together to stop the fraud?

We may send you our bank details by post or fax, make our bank details available in a data room or send encrypted emails using RPost software.

Please remember that an email or other electronic communication purporting to be from us changing details of our bank account is unlikely to be genuine. If you receive such a communication please telephone us (using our switchboard number and not the contact details provided in the email) to check with the person dealing with the transaction here whose voice you recognise, before you send funds.

Telephone checks and encrypted emails are useful tools in keeping out fraudsters, but please always remain vigilant about unusual emails. 

This article was written by Eleanor Newton, for more information please contact Eleanor on +44 (0)20 7203 5322 or