Remember the infamous Nigerian property scams of 2010 and 2011? In two separate cases of identity fraud, two homes were sold by overseas sellers posing as the owners. The enormity of the scam – which involved providing fake identification and requesting the proceeds be transferred to a Chinese bank account – and the extent of the true owners’ shock upon returning to Perth to find other people living in their properties, prompted new legislation requiring real estate agents and conveyancers to carry out stringent identity checks on clients.

Today, the Sydney Morning Herald revealed that an Australian real estate agent has been sent an email requesting that they have rental payments from a particular property redirected to a different bank account. The email, which was sent from the same Nigerian city, has been identified by Detective Senior Sergeant Robert Martin as a new scam.

The identification of this scam demonstrates that real estate agents are being increasingly vigilant. To prevent irreversible and reputation-damaging fraud incidents, it’s essential to stay alert and verify the identity of parties sending remote communications.

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About the Author

Peter Fletcher

Peter began his real estate career in 1985 selling tin shacks and red dirt in Kalgoorlie. Moving to Perth in 1989 he quickly moved into agency ownership. By 2006, Peter had built a thriving agency managing over 600 rental properties. He then sold the business, taking time out of the industry to complete Honours in a Bachelor of Arts. Peter is now the Managing Director of Residential Settlements in Burswood and an active Army reservist. Peter has had just one hot shower since the 10th of May 2008.