Back to Blog

How to spot a property scam

Posted 19/03/2024 by Alex Moore
Categories: Buying, Selling, Tenants
Woman drinking a coffee looking at her phone

Fraudsters are always looking for a way to scam people out of their hard-earned money and, unfortunately, the property market has its fair share of scammers.

Scammers want to make money with no regard for how it will affect their unsuspecting victims.

They take advantage of your trust in legitimate estate agents, solicitors, conveyancers, landlords, etc...

These days it's better to be safe than sorry. If something doesn't feel right you should stop, don't take any risks, and contact your estate agent.

There are a number of common property scams you need to be aware of.

How can you tell a fake buyer?

Sellers need to beware of fraudsters posing as potential buyers.

A fake buyer might make an offer to a homeowner, just to revoke it when the selling process nears completion.

In the process of making an offer, they will fish for personal information so that they can attempt to commit title fraud.

Title fraud is when a scammer attempts to illegally transfer the ownership of a property to themselves without your knowledge or consent.

They can then use your home as collateral to take out loans.

You can set up notifications for the HM Land Registry which will inform you if anyone tries to change the ownership of your home.

If you're worried that an offer or a buyer could be fraudulent, you can get in touch with the local Your Move branch that is handling the sale of your property to ask for advice.

Friday afternoon fraud

'Friday afternoon fraud' is when scammers hack your email to monitor the selling or buying process.

They will then wait for an opportune time to send you an email posing as someone legitimate, such as your estate agent.

Their email will ask for an upfront payment to their bank account, in an attempt to defraud you.

Some telltale signs that an email could be fraudulent are:

  • Poor grammar or spelling
  • Their email address does not match the company email address
  • They describe an urgency for you to send money
  • Their only point of contact is this email address

Two-step authentication can help provide an extra security measure for your email, so you should opt in if your email service provider offers it.

If you receive an email asking for money you should contact your agent, solicitor or local branch to confirm whether the correspondence is legitimate.

Conveyancing scams

Posing as a conveyancer is a common strategy fraudsters use to scam people.

They do this by impersonating a conveyancer via email or letter, providing their bank details and asking you to send money.

They will try to make their email or letter look legitimate by copying a real conveyancer's email address or branding.

If you receive correspondence from a conveyancer, always make sure it is legitimate before disclosing any personal information or sending any money.

You can do this by contacting your real conveyancer for confirmation.

If you go with us for conveyancing for sellers or buyers you can contact your law firm through our system.

That means if you are suspicious of a correspondence you've received you can easily contact your real conveyancer for confirmation.

Rental scams

Tenants need to be aware of fake landlords listing illegitimate rental properties.

They will create property listings and attempt to take payment from you before you've seen the property in person - Likely because the property does not exist or is actually someone else's.

Viewing a rental property should be free, so you should be wary of any 'landlords' that ask for payment first.

A fraudster could ask for the first month's rent or a deposit before offering you a viewing or a tenancy agreement, which isn't proper practice.

There are some signs that a listed rental property could be fake:

  • Lack of photography
  • Undercutting market prices to tempt unsuspecting renters
  • Asking for payment before a viewing
  • Poorly written property descriptions

If you rent through Your Move you can be sure that the rental properties listed are legitimate.


The best way to avoid being scammed is to remain vigilant. If you are ever in doubt about a correspondence you've received, the easiest thing to do is to contact the legitimate party to confirm whether the correspondence is real or if it's a fraudster posing as them.

When you buy, sell, let or rent through Your Move you can contact your local property experts to receive advice and guidance.

Find my local branch

Alex Moore

Your Move E-Marketing Executive

Blog Signup

Get the latest news from Your Move direct to your inbox

Blog Signup

Get the latest news from Your Move direct to your inbox