In what is suspected to be a “man in the middle scam”, funds were unwittingly deposited by a purchaser into an east coast bank account in the lead up to a settlement and then transferred by the scammers to an overseas account resulting in a significant loss of $557,000.
Typically, this type of scam will occur when the contents of person’s private emails are accessed and details of future financial transactions are seized upon by scammers. Victims will be contacted by what they believe to be their agent via a genuine email address when in fact it is the scammer who has assumed the identity of a recipient requesting the transfer.
Scammers are attracted to targeting property professionals and their clients due to the potential for high yield lucrative opportunities.
THE REGISTRAR OF TITLES’ WITNESSING AND IDENTITY VERIFICATION
REQUIREMENTS FOR TRANSFER OF LAND DOCUMENTS EXECUTED BY THE
TRANSFEROR(S) OUTSIDE OF AUSTRALIA
An example of documents requiring a qualified witness;
Application for Lost Title
Application by Personal Representative
Transfer of Land
When a client is overseas, the witnessing and verification of identity must be by consular officials, so be aware some travel may be required in order to attend an Australian Embassy or Consulate to have documents witnessed and certified.
Some relevant information for Overseas Sellers
Landgate (The Titles Registry in Western Australia) have provided specific guidelines for the signing of the Transfer together with requiring specific forms of identification.
The witness on a Transfer must be an Australian consular officer when the execution of a Land Titles Office document occurs outside of Australia.
An Australian consular officer is defined by section 145(4) of the Transfer of Land Act as a person appointed to hold or act in any of the following offices (being an office of the Commonwealth) in a country or place outside the Commonwealth.
This Customer Information Bulletin contains additional information and clarifies the procedures for the witnessing of transfer of land documents executed by transferors outside of Australia and the corresponding client identity verification required to be undertaken by the witness.
This CIB provides clarification and further details in relation to the instructions provided in CIB No. 206 of 18 August 2011.
The following Registrar’s requirements only relate to transfer of land documents where the transferor(s) executes the transfer outside of Australia.
The requirements as set out in this CIB are summarised as follows:
transfers of land executed by transferors outside of Australia are required to be witnessed by an Australian consular officer; prior to witnessing the execution of the transfer of land the Consular Officer is to undertake an identity check of the transferor(s) and provide certified copies of all the identity documents sighted; and conveyancers are to provide the original certified copies of the identity documents sighted by the Consular Officer who witnessed the transfer of land to the Registrar of Titles at the time of lodging the transfer of land at Landgate.
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