Agents are being urged to carefully check a vendor’s identity after a Sydney-based apartment was almost sold without the owner’s knowledge, the third such instance in recent months, according to a report on the weekend.
In an interview on ABC’s AM radio program on Saturday, it was revealed a house in Sydney’s eastern suburbs was almost sold as part of a Nigerian property scam, similar to a number of cases that occurred in Perth recently.
The AM program reported that the latest attempt was stopped before the apartment was due to be auctioned, and follows two successful frauds in Perth. In all three cases, the report said, the real owners were living in Africa.
The report said the real estate agency thought the request to sell was legitimate and solicitors in Double Bay drew up contracts.
The chief executive of the Real Estate Institute of Western Australia, Anne Arnold, told AM that, like the cases in Perth, the Sydney fraud involved a property that was under management by a real estate agency.
“What happened was that the real estate who originally sold the owner the property happened to see and ad for it on the net and was interested that he hadn't got the listing so he sent an email to his former client and of course the owner emailed back and said "What do you mean, selling my property? I'm not selling my property.
Ms Arnold told AM that she’ll be raising this issue with her fellow Real Estate Institutes in a meeting in Canberra this week.
“I understand that the department of commerce has been communicating with their counterparts in other states and in fact I'm in Canberra for a meeting with my counterparts of other real estate institutes next week and it is one thing that I'll be raising with them,” she said.