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Nigerian scammers target real estate industry
Released 13 September 2011

REINSW members are warned that Nigerian scammers are actively - and successfully - operating in the real estate industry in Australia. 

Two Perth properties were recently listed, and sold, after the scammers successfully changed contact details for the absentee property owners and then instructed an agent to list the properties. The scams were not discovered until after the properties settled. For more details, click here.

Recently, in NSW, another attempted scam was foiled, but only after the property was listed on the market and heading for sale. For more details, click here.

REINSW members are cautioned to be vigilant about the methods currently being used by these scammers, which is to use email to either request changes of the owner’s contact details, or to request information about a property and its tenancies. Properties not subject to a mortgage, or with absentee landlords, are particularly vulnerable.

Members should take steps to ensure that such requests have, in fact, been received from their clients, before being actioned.Failure to do so could expose the agent to significant liability.