The recent arrest of a Nigerian scammer over an attempted sale of a home in Western Australia has proven the value of mandatory continuing professional development (CPD), according to the agent embroiled in the case.
Director of Mandurah Estate Agency Ken Murphy told Real Estate Business that ongoing training and experience had helped him to identify the fraudulent activity.
“If it wasn’t for the training and the compulsory professional development of their members, we would not have been able to identify these potential fraudsters and scammers,” he said.
Mr Murphy said his suspicions were raised when he received an email purporting to be from the owner late last year.
The email had been sent from a different email address but a few days later, the agency received another email with a request to sell the property.
Mr Murphy contacted the owners directly, which confirmed that the emails had been a scam. With the help of the Major Fraud Squad of the Western Australian Police, the Australian Federal Police and authorities in South Africa and Nigeria, the offender, Ntuen Promise Ekenmini, was identified and arrested.
Mr Murphy said ongoing training in identifying fraud minimised the risk of agents being caught out.
“I am definitely against this national licensing. The real estate profession and industry has improved through CPD in many states and as a result we were able to identify these problems before they arose,” Mr Murphy said.
“Member agents, or agents who are sales or property managers still need to be alerted to these potential scams. They are becoming more sophisticated in their procedures, whereby they are now able to produce forged documents that could actually fool the untrained agent or property manager.
Under the Decision Regulation Impact Statement (RIS) into national licensing, mandatory CPD would be removed and replaced with skills maintenance that would be prescribed on an ‘as needs’ basis.
Deputy CEO of the National Occupational Licensing Authority (NOLA) Barbara El-Gamal recently told Real Estate Business there was little evidence to show that mandatory CPD increased the abilities of agents, or that courses were appropriate to skills requirements.
“Certainly, there’s been evidence that some people have done the same units over and over again because they’re easy to access or the cheapest,” she said.