What's the scam?

We have been made aware that Scottish law firms have recently been targeted by a redemption statement scam when acting in sale or remortgage transactions.

When a solicitor requests a redemption statement from a lender, the lender in many instances sends that redemption statement to the firm by way of fax transmission.

Solicitors have reported to us that, on receiving redemption statements by fax, they have noted that the bank account details where the redemption monies are to be remitted have been substituted with falsified bank account details.  

It seems that the redemption statements have been intercepted between the lender and the solicitor and are then sent on to the solicitor with fake bank account details. There is a clear intention to trick solicitors into sending funds to a fraudulent account.

The fake redemption statements appear to be genuine. They disclose the correct client name, address and account number. Similarly the amount due as shown on the statement has been the amount that the clients would have expected to pay to redeem the loan in full. 

We understand that Halifax and also Nationwide Building Society statements have been affected.

What should you do?

Those receiving redemption statements should carefully scrutinise the statements and check that the redemption bank details provided are genuine.

So far the redemption statements affected have been by way of fax transmissions received by email. However please be vigilant to all redemption communications whether they are by traditional fax or email and ensure that all colleagues are made aware of this threat to prevent your firm becoming a victim to this type of fraud.

It would be prudent to check recently settled transactions to ensure that monies have been transferred to the lender’s nominated account.

If you receive a fake redemption statement please contact the Financial Compliance Team on 0131 226 8897 or fincomp@lawscot.org.uk

If you find that you have been a victim of this scam, please report it to Police Scotland and  ActionFraud online or by calling 0300 123 2040.

If you have any questions or wish to discuss these issues please contact the Professional Practice Team on 0131 226 8896 or profprac@lawscot.org.uk

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Professional Practice

Our Professional Practice team offers free and confidential support and advice on legal practice and procedure.