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Property sales fraud alert

Wednesday 29 November 2017

The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) have issued a warning about a new fraudulent trend that could impact some aspects of the property industry.

The scam - the Bureau are advising - involves fraudsters exploiting the sales market by taking up basic level training or certifications in order to work as Estate Agents, and in some cases are even opening up small, satellite offices.

Once established, the fraudsters aim is to act as an agent for large scale developments, such as high-rise flats, in areas where demand is high.

Through the use of high pressure sales tactics, buyers are encouraged to act immediately so as not to miss out, and are instructed to pay a holding deposit to take the property off the market. Deposits are paid directly into the fraudster's account and then transferred out immediately. For this to be most effective, fraudsters plan this type of activity in “one big hit” over a short space of time, thereby maximising the proceeds of crime.

With this being one of many cases of fraud within the property sector in recent weeks, it is important to conduct the proper checks when taking on new members of staff. 

Our online Fraud Awareness course covers a number of areas, including the primary motivators for fraud and how to identify when fraud is being committed.

Members should make the most out of advertising NAEA Propertymark protection, by ensuring to display the logo prominently, since it is a key indicator to consumers that you are a licensed professional who adheres to the highest standards and can be trusted.

The logo is a mark of your membership and shows that you have at least five years' experience and are actively working in the industry. You'll also benefit from the fact we are running a high-profile ongoing ad campaign aimed at getting consumers to only use Propertymark Protected agencies when buying or selling a property. If consumers follow our advice, they won't be duped by fraudsters. 

So if you don't already have the new logo or a window sticker, both can be ordered free of charge from our online shop.

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