Avoiding fraud and criminal dishonesty

It has come to our attention that fraudsters are deliberately targeting and hacking solicitors’ internet security systems and contacting clients sometimes by phone and more commonly by email holding themselves out to be the solicitor or a member of the solicitor’s staff and asking for payments “to be made to the solicitors account” with new bank details, which is in fact the fraudster’s bank account.

Residential conveyancing firms deal with high value transactions and are very attractive to criminals, with fraud techniques getting more clever and sophisticated.

To avoid being a victim of a variety of fraud methods please note the following:-

  • Our bank details will never change over the course of a transaction.
  • We recommend that you contact a Neilsons Office (at the verified number as per our website) to confirm the Bank details and then send £1 as a test payment prior to making the full payment – someone you have been dealing with at Neilsons will verify receipt of the £1 payment, and advise it has reached our account safely.
  • We bank with Clydesdale Bank and will not change our account from this Bank – any request to pay to us at another Bank is fraudulent.
  • If you are a beneficiary in an estate and you are advising us which account to send your entitlement to, please do not send this by email. We will not accept this by email as email is not a secure method of communication, it must be by letter which needs to be signed.
  • If you are a seller and you are advising us which account to send your funds to, please do not send this by email. Again, email is not a secure method of communication. It must be by letter which needs to be signed so we can verify authenticity.

Tips for avoiding email, telephone, SMS or social media property fraud attempts:

  1. Check the email address of the party sending you an email requesting funds – our emails are always (name)@neilsons.co.uk. In some cases, fraudsters may use the familiar name of the person in the firm you have been dealing with but the rest of the email address will be false.
  2. Note that even if the email address is correct, there have been cases where the correct email address has itself been hacked so do not assume that the email is genuine because the email is the correct address – treat any email requesting funds as suspicious as email is not a secure method of communication and verify our account details using the official contact numbers of our offices listed on our website.
  3.  If telephoned, check the phone number of the person who has been in contact with you – the correct number is displayed below and on our secured website www.neilsons.co.uk
  4. We will never send you an SMS message requesting funds or personal information.
  5. Beware of social engineering on social media – for example do not post on social media that you are buying a property with a link to the property details, fraudsters regularly use this information to build up a profile in order to target you.
  6. Change your computer, email and other account passwords regularly.

If you are unsure of any email or call received reporting to be from Neilsons urging you to complete an action, do give us a call to discuss the contents of the email on 0131 316 4444 (Head Office) 0131 556 5522 (Picardy Place),  0131 331 4009 (South Queensferry), 0131 663 9988 (Bonnyrigg) or 0131 625 2222 (Property Department) so that we can verify the content.