Your property is probably the most valuable asset you own, so when it comes to buying, selling or re-mortgaging, you need to make sure that your transaction is safe to protect yourself against fraud.
At TWM Solicitors, we are all too aware of the growing threat of cyber related crime and impersonation fraud to both our clients and to our business. We are committed to doing everything we can to assist in helping our clients keep safe. We have prepared this guide for you to outline what you should expect from us at TWM and what you can do to assist us during your transaction to help us both avoid becoming a victim of fraud.
We will provide you with our bank details in our letter of engagement at the outset of your transaction. These will be sent by post, or often hand-delivered / collected. We will not send our bank details by email, and we never link directly to our internet banking log on page, or to a page that asks for any security or personal details. If you receive bank details by email, the email is likely to be fraudulent, so do not call the number listed in the email. Instead, please call us immediately using a verified landline telephone number i.e. listed on our home page or on ‘Our People’ page on our website.
Whether you are a new client or an existing client, we will generally ask you to bring original documents into one of our offices in person, so that we can carry out an identity check. We will also carry out further electronic antimoney laundering checks via ‘Smart Search’. For purchase transactions, we will ask you for proof of funds – generally, you will be asked to provide your bank statements to show us where your funds are held, and an explanation of how the funds have accrued. Further evidence may be required – providing this at the outset will help to avoid any delays later in the transaction.
If you are buying an empty or tenanted property, you must tell us so that we can raise further enquiries to make sure that the seller is verified as the true owner of the property.
If you do need to send sensitive information by email, do not indicate what that information might be in the email’s subject line. Consider splitting the information over one or more emails, and / or splitting it between one or more type of message – e.g. email plus text or phone call.
It can often be a good idea to transfer a small payment first to test our account details at TWM Solicitors, then call us to ensure it has arrived safely, before going through with the final transaction. We are always happy to cooperate with such an arrangement.
Unfortunately, criminals are not only stealing identities of individuals; there have been instances where legitimate law firms have been accurately cloned in order to steal purchase funds. In order to protect both you and your lender from this threat, it is our policy in every single purchase transaction to verify the identity of your seller’s conveyancer and their firm using Lawyer Checker. This service helps us mitigate any risk associated in sending your money to a bogus law firm.
Lawyer Checker allows your solicitor / conveyancer to check the bank details of the seller’s conveyancer’s firm are genuine against a database of previous conveyancing transactions, and that the firm is a recognised practice known for carrying out conveyancing transactions. The results provided by the service help to better assess any risks associated with sending on your money. This additional check provides an additional layer of protection for you and your money over and above the Law Society’s recommended procedures.
We proactively monitor the risk levels in every transaction that we undertake, not only at the start of the matter, but also throughout the course of the transaction, ensuring that should any of the “warning signs” flag up during the course of your purchase, that these are flagged up and further investigations are carried out.
Working with your solicitor / conveyancer is a two-way street. No matter how good and safe we are, if you are not as vigilant, you are at risk to having your emails hacked or becoming a victim to property fraud.
Internet and social media
Malware linked to your computer
Phishing emails, texts and phone call scams
Out and about
At home or work
If you are making a financial payment to TWM Solicitors, or receiving one, you should always assume that it is possible for a fraudulent transaction to occur – not that a fraud is unlikely to occur. If you make a payment without checking the authenticity of the payment request or account details, we regret that we will not be liable for any losses that you suffer as a result. In such circumstances, you should contact your bank immediately.
We routinely report scam / fraudulent emails to the necessary authorities.
Finally, after your purchase has been registered with HM Land Registry, we encourage every client to sign up to take advantage of the Land Registry Property Alert. You will be notified by email of any activity relating to your property. This service is free and allows you to:
To apply for this service, please go to https://propertyalert.landregistry.gov.uk
Our heritage dates back over 200 years, but our values haven’t changed much since we began in business in 1799. Our success is due to our people embodying these values and delivering excellent service. Our reputation means clients continue to place their trust in us and likewise, referrers have confidence to recommend us. Our philosophy is that the best form of marketing is word of mouth, and that the best outcome is a job well done and a happy client. We have an excellent office network with offices across Surrey and London, and are always happy to make visits to clients’ premises or homes.
In order for us to direct your enquiry to the right person at TWM Solicitors, we need to know a little more about you and what are you looking for.
Thank you for contacting TWM Solicitors, your completed form has been sent successfully. If this is an enquiry we are able to assist with, one of our team will be in contact with you as soon as possible. Please note, this may not be until the next working day, and during business hours. If you require urgent assistance, please call: 0330 555 0440.