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APP Fraud and Scam Compensation

Conveyancing Fraud:
Compensation for Conveyancing Scams

Quick guide

  • Conveyancing fraud involves scammers intercepting communications between you and your solicitor and diverting your money to their own accounts.
  • Your bank has a duty to detect and stop scams like this. If you have lost out in a conveyancing APP scam, TLW Solicitors may be able to help claim compensation.
  • We work on a no-win no-fee basis and will keep you updated throughout your refund claim.

Have you lost money to a conveyancing scam or fraud?

You may be eligible for compensation if your bank failed in its duty to protect you.

Regrettably, we cannot assist if:

  • You transferred your money to the scam before July 2019.
  • You transferred money using a bank which is not UK based.

Buying a house can be one of the most exciting yet stressful times of anyone’s life and involves financial transactions larger than most people will ever need to handle again, such as deposits and final balances.

Unfortunately, where there is money, there are scammers. As a result, conveyancing and property fraud is on the rise as fraudsters use intricate cons to get between you and your hard-earned savings.

If you or someone you know has been the victim of a conveyancing scam, the experienced team at TLW Solicitors may be able to help you to claim a refund.

Start Your Compensation Claim Online

or call us on 0800 169 5925

Conveyancing fraud happens when criminals trick victims into transferring their deposit and/or balance of monies to them via bank transfer. They do this by intercepting the communications between the victim and their conveyancing solicitor. These scams typically target those who are buying or selling a home, and can take many forms such as fake solicitors, fake estate agents, fraudulent emails, and false offers of sale.

Often, the interception is done through email with the scammer posing as the solicitor and claiming that there has been a change of bank details. They then ask the victim to transfer their monies, usually tens or hundreds of thousands of pounds, to the new payment details.

As the emails usually come as part of a wider chain and are therefore expected communications, the victim does not spot anything out of the ordinary and does as they are told, handing over their money without thinking about it. By the time the scam has been uncovered, the criminals have moved the money on from the receiving account and there is often little that can be done to recover the money.

Typically, conveyancing scams are conducted using a type of Authorised push payment (APP) fraud. APP fraud involves victims being convinced to transfer sums of money between bank accounts by scammers using impersonation and social engineering techniques for what they believe to be a legitimate purpose, such as buying a house.

In a conveyancing scam victims believe the instructions they have been given are genuine and have come direct from their solicitor or sometimes their estate agent, so they pay less attention to any red flags or don’t carry out the same security checks they might have done earlier in the process, such as double-checking email addresses.

Many conveyancing scams are successful because the criminals behind the fraud understand the processes involved in a conveyancing procedure and capitalise on the heightened stress and time pressures that come with it.

This type of scam is often known as ‘Friday afternoon fraud’ as this is the time of the week when traditionally most property transactions are finalised, and so those involved in the transaction will be expecting to transfer large sums of money such as a deposit or balance of the payment. The process of ‘completion’ on a Friday adds to the overall pressure of the situation as everyone involved is trying to finish everything ahead of the weekend and it makes it much more difficult for your bank to try and recover the money from the scammer’s bank account.

There are things you can do to reduce the risk of being the victim of a conveyancing scam and keeping your money secure:

  1. Make sure you have the basics covered before starting the process including ensuring you set secure passwords on your email accounts and multifactorial authentication wherever possible.
  2. Always double-check the email address from which any request for money or change of payment details is sent – keep an eye out for extra letters that may be easily missed at a glance.
  3. Check for any typographical or grammatical errors that may be a clue that the email is not genuine.
  4. To protect yourself, try sending a small amount of money (like £1) to your conveyancing solicitor as a ‘test’ transaction before you send the full deposit or balance. Then ring them to check it has been safely received before sending the full amount.
  5. Be wary of any new member of staff that unexpectedly appears from your solicitors’ firm during the process, for example suggesting that the original conveyancer dealing with your case is off sick or on holiday, or that the matter has been referred to another department at the firm.
  6. Double-check any requests with your solicitor on the phone – use the number from their website to speak to your solicitor in person and confirm the details of the request.
  7. Be aware of any requests for payment outside the normal conveyancing process; however not all fraudulent conveyancing requests will come out of the blue, so stay vigilant with all payments.
  8. Do not post about your property purchase online e.g. on social media as scammers may be able to use these details to intercept communications.
  9. Try to stay calm, even if the emailer is putting on pressure. If you’re suspicious, don’t rush into anything and take your time before making big decisions. Scammers are more likely to succeed if you’re in a hurry, so be cautious and listen to your instincts.

If you are the victim of a conveyancing scam, immediately contact your bank, the police, and Action Fraud, the National Fraud and Cyber Crime Reporting Centre. If you have lost money, then that may lead to a criminal investigation by the police.

Banks have a duty of care to ensure that they have procedures and systems in place to safeguard customers from scams such as conveyancing or property fraud. Once a scam is reported to a bank, it should carry out an investigation into the transaction to decide whether you are entitled to any compensation for what has happened.

If you have lost money to a conveyancing or property scam and your bank is refusing to refund or compensate, you may be able to take your complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) if you believe your bank should have done more to prevent the scam happening in the first place.

The FOS is an independent body responsible for investigating and resolving disputes between financial institutions and their customers, and increasingly the service is finding that banks have not fulfilled their responsibilities in relation to preventing and stopping customers from being scammed.

Our dedicated APP Fraud team has many years of experience dealing with FOS and successfully claiming compensation for our clients.

We understand the time limits to be followed, the information needed and the claims and appeals processes. The team will also deal with any complex legal arguments and defences that the bank may raise.

Combining our experienced team and digital case management systems means we can proactively pursue your claim, keep you fully up to date with every step of the claim and aim to get the best possible results.

Members of TLW Solicitors’ APP Fraud team have been featured in a BBC One series, ‘Northern Justice’. Episodes from the programme show how TLW Solicitors helped scam victims recover substantial compensation. Full details about the BBC series and how TLW successfully supported our clients can be found here.

The team has also been featured on BBC One’s ‘Morning Live’ programme.

The specialist fraud team at TLW Solicitors are helping many clients recover refunds on a no-win, no-fee basis. If you have a claim, we will deal with your claim from start to finish, whilst keeping you up to date as the case progresses.

The steps in the claims process are:

  1. Submit your claim with us by completing either the online claim form, request a callback, telephone our office, or email us using the contact details provided.
  2. A member of the fraud team will discuss your claim with you and advise whether you may have a claim that we can deal with.  If we can assist you, we will send you our welcome pack which contains useful information on what to expect throughout your claim as well as details of what information we’ll need from you.
  3. You will be assigned a case handler. If following an initial assessment of your case we think you have a claim, we will be in touch to go through the next steps. If we don’t think you have a claim, we will provide our reasons why so that you may consider other options.
  4. Your case handler will ask for and review any additional documentation needed to progress your claim, this will include contacting the banks involved on your behalf. You will be kept up to date by email and phone calls if required.
  5. Depending on the circumstances of your case and due to a wide range of factors outside of our control, making a refund claim can take several months to complete – as your case progresses, we will try to give you as much information as possible about the likely timescales. We will continue to update you on your claim, and you will be able to contact your dedicated case handler if there are any issues or concerns.
  6. We work on a ‘no win, no fee’ basis, which means that if your claim is unsuccessful, there will be no charge for the work we do.

We offer a free, no-obligation assessment of your case and will make a decision on whether or not to pursue your claim. If we take on your case, we operate on a ‘no win, no fee’ basis, meaning you do not pay us anything if your refund claim is unsuccessful.

If you, a friend, a colleague or a relative have been the victim of a conveyancing scam, please get in touch with our specialist team for a confidential, no-obligation conversation.

You can call us on 0800 169 5925, email info@tlwsolicitors.co.uk or complete either the ‘make a claim online’ or ‘call-back’ forms below.

It is important to get advice as soon as possible as strict time limits can apply.

Minimum case values apply.

Meet Our Team

Meet Sarah, who heads up our experienced Authorised Push Payment Fraud Claims team.

Sarah and her colleagues are on hand to help with your claim.

TLW Solicitors pledge to:

  • Always fight your corner.
  • Explain anything you don't understand.
  • Provide full transparency on our charges.
  • Never ask for any upfront payment.
  • Recover the best compensation we can.
  • Keep your personal information safe.
  • Respond quickly to any queries.