Buying real estate: the new scam of fake notary emails can make you lose a lot of money

The consumer association UFC-que-Choisir recently warned about a new phenomenon, following a series of reports. Individuals, in the context of the purchase of real estate, are the target of false notary emails, asking for money.

The trap is that it is a fake email, but coming from a real notary. The UFC that Choose alerts this month in a note on scams to false emails from notaries, which are a new type of scam, having already hit several individuals, including in Occitania.

Everything is correct in the email, except …

Indeed, by way of example, the association cites in particular a couple from Pau in Ari├Ęge, who lost 30,000 euros by falling into the trap set by the crooks. And if individuals get tricked, it’s because the scam is well put together. It takes shape in the context of a real estate sale and above all, comes to usurp the identity of a real notary to claim money.

Difficult to be wary. A buyer in Nord-pas-de-Calais, who had just concluded the sale, thus received in his mailbox a letter from his notary and a partner rib. All the elements in the message were correct, specifies the UFC: the address of the property, price, contact details of the notary, etc.

Nevertheless, the rib was not that of the notary but referred to an account abroad. A subtlety that this individual who was about to pay a deposit did not notice.

Cybercriminals infiltrate notaries’ messaging

In fact, to set up this scam, almost undetectable, the cybercriminals go so far as to interfere with the notary’s email, to replace the real rib of the study, with their own.

The cybercriminals who infiltrated the mailbox of the notary office, succeed in transferring to their mailbox all the mails which contain certain keywords namely “rib, transfer, deposit …” And if the UFC shows itself if alarmist, it is that according to the association, the scam could gain momentum since already this summer, the Superior Council of Notaries indicated that many professional electronic mailboxes had been hacked.

How to protect yourself from this?

Faced with this scam which can be very costly to individuals, and moreover when they are already preparing to pay a large sum for a real estate purchase, the consumer association strongly recommends to always telephone the notarial office to verify the bank details or to collect the rib in person under consideration.

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