Real estate agents are being warned to be on high alert for property scams after the arrest this week of three people by South African Police in connection with the attempted fraudulent sale of a home in Western Australia.
Attorney-General, Simon Corbell, said the fraudulent sale of a home is one of the most serious types of scam.
“A property scam can result in a home being sold without the lawful owner’s knowledge or permission. This type of scam traditionally occurs when the owner lives or is travelling overseas,” Mr Corbell said.
“Many professionals apart from those in the real estate industry are involved when a property is sold.
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“These professionals need to exercise due diligence in all transactions. Particularly when dealing with overseas transactions, check if you are in any doubt.
“Independently confirm any change in contact details for the properties you manage to ensure you are dealing with the real owner. Signatures should be checked with originals on file. Have any doubtful documents verified by the issuing authority.
“Homeowners, particularly absentee owners, are also warned to be vigilant. Have suitable protocols in place, for example, security questions, to prevent the possibility of your home being sold without your knowledge or permission.”
Enquiries can be directed to the Office of Regulatory Services on 6207 3000 (select 8).
(Simon Corbell Media Release)