Warning issued to south-west home buyers

SOUTH-WEST home buyers have been urged to check with their real estate agent before depositing funds for a new property.

Consumer Affairs has issued a warning about a possible hacking scam targeting the email accounts of real estate agents.

In most cases, the buyer was sent an email from the selling agent with the contract of sale and trust account details for payment of the deposit.

However, a second email from the same email address advises them of an error in their first correspondence.

The home buyers targeted were told to deposit their money into a different account.

Director Simon Cohen warned home buyers and estate agents to take extra measures to ensure the security of their money transfers. 

“If you have purchased a home and receive an email from the estate agent with trust account details to make payment, call the agent or visit them in person to verify that the email is legitimate,” Mr Cohen said. 

He warned people who have recently bought property to be “very suspicious” if they receive a second email from their agent, even it if came from the same email address. 

“We also strongly encourage estate agents, and all businesses, to regularly review and secure their online systems to avoid these situations.” 

Any businesses or individuals who believe they have been tricked into paying money into the wrong account are urged to contact their bank