select
|

Alert as new scam defrauds property sellers

Law firms across South Africa are on high alert about a new scam, which has seen house sellers conned out of their profits to the tune of hundreds of thousands of rand.




Already, 32 cases have been reported, involving sums ranging from R45 000 to R488 000, and a police investigation is also pending.


The scam sees con artists preying on conveyancers dealing with the transfer of properties that have been sold, and stealing the money before it reaches the sellers' bank accounts.


Weekend Argus understands that 32 cases involving the same modus operandi have been reported to the Attorneys Insurance Indemnity Fund (AIIF). Conveyancers in Cape Town, Joburg, Pretoria, Pietermaritzburg, Nelspruit, Bloemfontein, King William's Town and Polokwane have fallen prey to the scam.


In all but one of the 32 cases, the bond cancellation bank was the same. The AIIF has met the forensic investigator at the bank.


Head of risk at Nedbank Home Loans, Greg Salter, confirmed that "isolated fraudulent instructions have taken place, in which attorney firms have been instructed to change the particulars of bank accounts into which funds were to be deposited, as a result of a bond transfer or cancellation.


"The attorney firms with whom Nedbank deals in respect of home loans have all been made aware of the measures that need to be taken to prevent any parties from falling victim to this criminal behaviour," he added.


A forensic investigation is underway, and the bank is "engaging" with police and other banks to identify the perpetrators and "protect our clients' interests".


The AIIF was unable to comment on the issue, but its legal risk manager, Ann Bertelsmann, recently sent out a special alert to the legal fraternity. In it, she informed firms that the AIIF had started receiving notifications from conveyancers last year.


The scam artists struck at a time when a property was about to be transferred, or on the day the transfer was expected to go through.


"These are all cases where, once the property has been transferred, the seller will be entitled to the proceeds of the sale after settlement of mortgage bonds, etcetera," Bertelsmann said.

Once the money was paid into the alternative bank account, it was withdrawn almost immediately. The scam was uncovered when the real seller queried why the proceeds had not been paid.


The Law Society of South Africa has also sent out an advisory warning attorneys of the scam, and it has been posted on conveyancing website Ghost Digest.


Notices have also been handed out at deeds offices.


(Weekend Argus - Sunday Edition)




  Comment on this Article

  Please login to post comments

Post to my facebook wall
  
2000
Characters remaining


    Latest Property News
    • 17 Nov 2017
      FWJK has announced the launch of its latest residential brand, the Lil’ Apple, which will be launched simultaneously in two developments in Cape Town and Umhlanga totaling 600 apartments. The Lil’ Apple is set to be a brand of FWJK’s New York style apartments which will be rolled out nationally.
    • 17 Nov 2017
      It’s been a tumultuous year on many fronts, with socio-political uncertainty setting the tone for much of South Africa’s economic activity yet despite this and seemingly counter-intuitively, the residential property market has held up well.
    • 17 Nov 2017
      The EAAB (the Estate Agency Affairs Board) recently claimed that around 50,000 illegal estate agents could currently be operating illegally.
    • 16 Nov 2017
      Penthouses are synonymous with New York – characterised by high-rise living that is decidedly luxurious and spacious. While exclusivity comes at a price, you can still create a “penthouse” look and feel in your existing apartment or even the upstairs bedroom of a double storey house with some clever design changes and styling touches.
    • 16 Nov 2017
      The area has long been popular with kite surfers and, with escalating property prices in Cape Town itself, is increasingly in demand with home owners who work in town, but are looking to invest in more affordable properties.
    • 16 Nov 2017
      Cape Town’s popularity as a world-class tourist destination has resulted in a spike in the number of homes available for holiday lets and fuelled investor demand for sectional title units with short term rental potential.
    • 15 Nov 2017
      Sappi, one of South Africa’s oldest global companies and a leading global supplier of sustainable woodfibre products, has moved its global and regional headquarters to a new site on the corner of Oxford and 14th Avenue in Rosebank.
    • 15 Nov 2017
      There’s an old saying in real estate that you should seek to make a profit when you buy, not only when you sell – and a large part of succeeding at that endeavour is buying a home in an area with desirable features that will enhance the resale value of your property.
        
    X
    Subscribe to the MyProperty Newsletter

    Name  
    Last Name  
    Email Address  
    Email Frequency
    select
    X
    Share this Page

       
    For Sale Property
    Rental Property
    More Options
    About
    Connect with us
    FEEDBACK