You and Yours has reported a case where a couple when buying a flat lost £175,000 when one of the solicitors involved turned out to be a fake.
Their own solicitor was genuine but the solicitor used in the flat sale was not. As soon as he had their money he disappeared without a trace.
Often fake solicitors will impersonate a genuine one, in order to increase their credibility. Here are a few suggestions to help you avoid becoming a victim of this kind of fraud:
- Find out the names & firms of all solicitors in the chain (or check out your own solicitor and then get them to check the rest).
- Check they are listed on the Law Society website.
- Contact the firm using their published details, e.g. from their website. Do not use any contact details you were given: these could be fake.
- Watch out for anything that does not look right, e.g. poor spelling or grammar.
A new online system, Veyo, launching this spring promises to make the buying & selling process easier and safer.
The Solicitors Regulation Authority also has a page dedicated to this subject.