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Protect yourself – and your bank account – while buying or selling property

22 June 2021 | Insights Team

Buying a home is probably the largest financial transaction you’ll ever make. It’s also the biggest investment you’ll ever make into building your future. But, unfortunately, the process could leave you vulnerable to the most devious scams you’ll ever fall victim to, with much of the danger coming from cybercriminals who know exactly how to intercept emails and manipulate online transactions.


Phishing is a common cybercrime and is perpetrated by parties who pose as legitimate institutions to lure their victims into electronically providing confidential data, such as banking and credit card details, passwords and personal identification information. Phishers also often provide phony bank account details for deposits to be paid into. According to a Google Report, phishing has risen by 350% since the Covid-19 pandemic began.  

What can you do to protect yourself against phishing? Quite a lot actually, and while the key behaviour here is vigilance you should apply the same basic precautions to all your online activity. Strong passwords make hackers’ lives difficult and installing all the latest security updates on your devices helps to keep your information secure. This is especially important if you’re working from home. Most office networks are protected by layers of security but home office security is often less stringent and therefore more vulnerable. 

Urgent payment requests

The faster scammers can get you to agree to a scam, the faster they can steal your money and avoid getting caught. They apply high-pressure tactics to push you into acting – and paying – quickly. 

If it looks too good to be true, it probably is…

If a property is advertised way below the market-related price for that area, it’s very possible that the listing is fake. If you find a ‘bargain’ online you should contact the estate agency to verify that the deal is authentic. Don’t call or email the details provided on the listing as they could be false. 

Unknown email address

A legitimate estate agent will always use an email address that includes their agency’s name, for example, If you see a listing with a hidden email address or an email address for a free mail server, (like Gmail or Yahoo), be suspicious.

Sellers who want to avoid being scammed should take note of foreign buyers and people who want to buy your home ‘unseen’. This doesn’t mean you should be wary of all foreign enquiries, but many scams originate from other parts of the globe because it’s harder to trace fraudsters to a foreign country. Foreign buyers who don’t ask questions, act in haste and don’t view your property are suspicious and indicate a high likelihood of fraud.

Property transactions too are, unfortunately, susceptible to fake agents, fraudulent agents, and dodgy developers. Working with a reputable, respected and established estate agency such as Leadhome Properties is the first step in protecting yourself against scammers. You have every right to check that an agent is registered with the Property Practitioners Regulatory Authority and holds a valid Fidelity Fund Certificate. In fact, at Leadhome Properties, we encourage you to do so. Here at Leadhome Properties, we pride ourselves on the measures, processes and technology we have in place to streamline your property journey and make it as simple and drama-free as possible. 

For more information, please contact us: 

Tel: +27 10 590 3088 | | | Properties for sale

For more valuable advice, insights and information, please visit our Selling & Buying Guides, Leadhome Blog and FAQs

Insights Team

We're the "thinking arm" of Leadhome, combining expertise in data analysis, modelling, sociology, geography, and philosophy to interrogate current trends in the South African residential property market. Proudly contemplative since 2015.

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