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Vigilant Applecross Perth estate agency prevents another fraudulent house sale Nigerian scam

By Jonathan Chancellor
Monday, 04 June 2012

WA police are investigating another attempt by an international scam to sell Perth residential properties without their owners’ consent.

The attempt was intercepted by vigilant real estate agents who were approached to sell the home in Applecross.

The most recent matter arose last month when an Applecross real estate agency was contacted by someone claiming to be the owner of a rental property and requesting an urgent statement.

The property manager contacted the owner on file and realised it was a scam.

Other attempts have been made at Belmont and Subiaco.

The government reported that in the Belmont scam, people hacked into a home owner’s laptop computer through a Trojan virus and retrieved information on the owner’s investment property. The real estate agent who was managing the property was then contacted in an attempt to have the rental income diverted to an overseas bank account.

Police are still investigating the fraudulent sale of a Karrinyup home in September 2010 and a Balcatta house early last year where the overseas owners were renting the properties.

Police have tracked the Karrinyup scam to Nigeria and say the hundreds of thousands of dollars paid to them was transferred to a Chinese bank account.

The WA Minister has congratulated the agents involved for their vigilance.

“Fraudsters have clearly been encouraged by the two previous successful scams in WA,” Commerce Minister Simon O’Brien said.

“These new attempts reiterate just how important it is that property and settlement agents apply rigorous scrutiny to all property transactions, particularly when they involve absentee owners and overseas vendors.”

The attempts follow the State Government’s move to strengthen industry codes of conduct late last year.

The new codes require agents to exercise greater care, skill and diligence when conducting identity checks on clients.

Consumer Protection has made identity verification training mandatory for all agents and WA Police conducts education seminars for the industry on this issue.

“Identity fraud and cyber crime is a continuing concern for authorities but awareness and vigilance are our best weapons to ensure fraud attempts are not rewarded,” Mr O’Brien said

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June 6, 2012 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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