Western Australia’s property watchdog is urging real estate agents to be more vigilant when selling properties, after scammers managed to pose as a homeowner and sell a $485,000 investment property without the landlord’s knowledge.
Scammers managed to convince an estate agent through a series of emails that they needed to sell the property due to financial hardship
According to an article in The Sydney Morning Herald, the landlord, who was living abroad at the time of the scam, returned to Australia on a holiday to find his investment property in the settlement stage.
The Real Estate and Business Agents Supervisory Board (REBA) and the Settlement Agents Supervisory Board (SASB) are currently conducting an investigation into the incident.
Consumer Protection commissioner Anne Driscoll is now urging real estate agents to use driver’s licenses and passports to identity to rightful owners of the property.
"In light of this alleged scam a more stringent verification process would be advisable, which may include checking title deeds or asking for evidence of a mortgage being paid against the property," Ms Driscoll said in a statement.