Any Charges Reported on this blog are Merely Accusations and the Defendants are Presumed Innocent Unless and Until Proven Guilty, through the courts.

October 17, 2012

Scammers Thwarted in Attempt to Sell WA Home (WA. AUSTRALIA)

By David Weber
16 October, 2012

Fraud police and a real estate agency in Western Australia have thwarted an attempt by con artists to sell a home without the owner's knowledge.
It is the latest in a series of scams facing WA real estate agencies where real owners have lost their homes to new buyers and the funds are transferred overseas.
In those cases fraudsters convinced the agents, the banks and government authority Landgate they were the real owners.
But real estate agency Peard & Associates and Fraud Squad detectives have stopped the attempted sale of another home in a case they believe was plotted in Africa.
Peard & Associates director Byron Wallace says the scammers attempted to assume the identity of a real property owner.

"We've managed property for an overseas landlord and he resided in South Africa," he said.
"We received what was an email from a reported landlord with the same name in the email address thanking us for a property condition report we had posted to him recently."
Mr Wallace says the scammer wrote to the agency to say "by the way, I've changed my email address. Please further any future correspondence to" a certain email address.
"Subsequently a phone call came pretty soon after: 'Just want to confirm my new email address is this, I'm not using the old address anymore. Any further correspondence should be sent to this address'," he said.
Mr Wallace says the agency then emailed the owner asking if they had received a property condition report and wanted to change their details.
"He said, 'No I haven't got the report and no I'm not changing my details'," he said.
"We also asked him whether he had any thoughts of selling the property.
"Subsequently we received another email [from the scammer] saying, 'Please value the property we're looking to sell it urgently'."
Not selling
Audio: Con artist fails to sell WA home (PM)

Mr Wallace says the real owner confirmed they were not selling the property.
"We reported to the Department of Commerce or Consumer Protection and we also got in touch with the Major Fraud Squad," he said.
The scammer's email is believed to have been sent from in or around South Africa, Mr Wallace says.
"That's where the landlord lives. They have our contact details via our letterhead and we've obviously shut it down," he said.

WA Consumer Protection Commissioner Anne Driscoll says the tale is a warning to other property owners that they could be targeted in the future.
"I don't think we should assume that these attempts are necessarily going to be with an absent landowner in an overseas country," she said.
"That has to date been where it's been successful, but I feel that any property owner who is renting out their property should make arrangements for the real estate agent to ensure any change of details is cross checked, maybe to introduce passwords or special private questions that serve to confirm that they're dealing with the true owner."


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