There is a high demand for housing and property in Cape Town and with people often desperate to find a place to live, they are vulnerable to scammers.
Sophisticated online scams are fleecing buyers and sellers, as well as property practitioners
Phishing emails is believed to be one of the key methods used.
Specialist Conveyancing Attorney from Guthrie Colananni Attorneys, Lara Colananni spoke to Kieno Kammies and said many of these scams are taking the form of the interception of electronic communications such as emails, between buyers and sellers - or estate agents and conveyancors.
All the parties to conveyancing transactions property transfers are now vulnerable to being scammed, she adds.
Typically what the fraudsters will do is create an email address that looks virtually identical to the email address of one of the parties to the transaction.— Lara Colananni, Specialist Conveyancing Attorney
The purchaser would respond to that fraudulent email and be duped, she explains.
For example, the fraudulent email, using a version of the authentic agent's name, would state that bank details have changed and the payment needs to be made to the 'new' bank account.
The person then deposits the money into the wrong account and the fraudster runs off with the money.— Lara Colananni, Specialist Conveyancing Attorney
How do you protect yourself from this scam?
Colananni says we have to be hyper-vigilant, create awareness, and pay attention to the contact details in any email received - especially dealing with the flow of funds.
Listen further to hear what property scammers use to scam property owners: