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Law Society warns of redemption scam
The Law Society of Scotland is warning firms to be alert to a redemption statement scam when acting in sale or remortgage transactions.
When a solicitor requests a redemption statement from a lender, the lender in many instances sends that redemption statement to the firm by way of fax transmission.
Some solicitors have reported to the Society that, on receiving redemption statements by fax, they have noted that the bank account details where the redemption monies are to be remitted have been substituted with falsified bank account details.
It seems the redemption statements have been intercepted between the lender and the solicitor and are then sent on to the solicitor with fake bank account details. There is a clear intention to trick solicitors into sending funds to a fraudulent account.
The fake redemption statements appear to be genuine. They disclose the correct client name, address and account number. Similarly, the amount due as shown on the statement has been the amount that the clients would have expected to pay to redeem the loan in full.
The Society understands that Halifax and Nationwide Building Society statements have been affected.
Anyone receiving redemption statements should carefully scrutinise the statements and check that the redemption bank details provided are genuine.
So far, the redemption statements affected have been by way of fax transmissions received by email.
However, solicitors are also warned to be vigilant to all redemption communications whether they are by traditional fax or email. What's more, everyone in the firm should be made aware of this threat to prevent the company becoming a victim to this type of fraud.
It would be prudent to check recently settled transactions to make sure monies have been transferred to the lender’s nominated account.
If you receive a fake redemption statement please contact the Society's Financial Compliance Team on 0131 226 8897 or firstname.lastname@example.org
If you find that you have been a victim of this scam, report it to Police Scotland and ActionFraud online or by calling 0300 123 2040.
If you have any questions or wish to discuss these issues contact the Professional Practice Team on 0131 226 8896 or email@example.com