The advances in technology are a blessing when it comes to the property industry, in the sense that the entire process moves a lot swifter than it did when conventional methods were used. Unfortunately, fraudsters are using these technological advances for their own gain, and are scamming people out of copious amounts of money.

A law firm in Pretoria has recently made news, when they made payments amounting to over R1.7 Million into an account given to them by fraudsters. The fraudsters had sent an email which appeared to come from the firm’s client, requesting payment to be made into a “new” bank account. The unsuspecting firm did not notice anything out of the ordinary, and continued to make several payments into the fraudulent account. When all came to light, the matter was taken to the High Court who found that the attorneys should have taken measures to ensure that the correct banking details were used.

At AJ Kempen Incorporated we have a 3-step account verification process:

  1. The client completes his banking details in writing.
  2. Upon registration of the property, we request that the client types his banking details in an email, which we then compare to the written details.
  3. We then phone the client and ask them to read the banking details to us over the phone.

Another occurrence you might not be aware of is fraudsters posing as estate agents as well as conveyancing attorneys. Once the purchaser pays his deposit or full purchase price into a designated bank account, the fraudsters will disappear without a trace.

We all work hard for our money, and for this reason we want to urge you to phone the Law Society of South Africa and the Estate Agency Affairs Board to verify the existence/licensing of your estate agent or attorney.

You are welcome to phone our office if you need any assistance or contact details.

“It’s easier to fool people, than to convince them that they have been fooled”Mark Twain