We use cookies to allow us and selected partners to improve your experience and our advertising. By continuing to browse you consent to our use of cookies as per our policy which also explains how to change your preferences.

Conveyancing fraud

Find out how to protect yourself against conveyancing fraud when buying or selling a property.

There’s no doubt that being able to carry out conveyancing transactions online is convenient. However, for a small minority, it also spells an increased risk of conveyancing fraud.

Conveyancing fraud usually involves a person receiving an email, allegedly from their conveyancer, requesting a large transfer of funds (often their house deposit). The email looks perfectly legitimate, but it actually contains a fraudster’s account details rather than your solicitor’s.

The convincing tone of the email combined with the timing of the request, which usually arrives when the buyer or seller is already expecting to make a transfer to their conveyancer, means the crime often goes unnoticed until it’s too late.

Occasionally, hackers access a genuine email from your solicitor and change the bank details to their own before forwarding it to you, making the crime even harder to spot.

It’s important to be vigilant in order to avoid being affected. Follow these steps to stay protected:

  • Make sure the security software is up to date on any computers, smartphones or tablets you’re using.
  • Never send your bank details via email. If asked for your details, it’s best to call your conveyancer or solicitor on a number you know is theirs (don’t assume the number in the email is correct - if a fraudster has hacked in, they will have changed it).
  • Avoid discussing your house sale or purchase on social media - fraudsters sometimes scour social platforms looking for opportunities.
  • If you receive an email from your solicitor asking you to make a transfer to an account detailed within that email, always call them to check it’s legitimate and that the details are correct.
  • If you are in doubt about any communications you’ve received, contact your conveyancer directly by phone - it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

If you suspect you may have been the victim of conveyancing fraud, you should call your conveyancer immediately. If they confirm there is a problem, or if you can't get through, contact your bank straight away. Find out more about how to get your money back after a scam.

Join the fight against scams - sign our petition to support our super-complaint and force banks to take action.