The Consumer Lawyer

Stuart’s scam story

I am constantly campaigning about scams and the need to expose the fraudsters, inform the public to raise awareness, and hopefully eradicate the issue. The majority of scams I hear about involve the vulnerable, usually someone elderly. A shocking story I have been told about falls into this category and highlights the need to look out for our elderly family and friends.

Stuart from Winchester contacted me about his late grandfather’s house. George died at the end of May. Two weeks after his death, three men turned up at the house in a van. Stuart’s mum and auntie were at the house at the time going through George’s belongings. What happened next absolutely shocked them.

The men claimed that George had sold them the house in September 2017 and that he had been renting the house since this time. They were naturally immediately suspicious as they knew nothing of this so asked more questions. Initially the men refused to provide any further information claiming they had no obligation to do so. They also stated that they wanted the house cleared out so that they could sell it.

Upon the family’s request I contacted these characters to find out what was going on. They immediately put me in touch with a local conveyancing firm they had used for the transaction. On the face of it, this looked like a genuine transaction until you looked at the price. They had paid £35,000 for a house worth at least £110,000 (according to the family). Also, George hadn’t actually received any of the money but instead it was sat in an escrow account to be used to pay his rent. It was now clear to me that this was a fraudulent transaction and, more importantly, that the contract for the house sale was not worth the paper it was written on.

Unusually this scam story has a good ending as the fraudsters have now agreed to sign the relevant documentation to reverse the documentation and to put the house firmly back into the family’s ownership (or at the moment George’s estate).

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