Scammers target real estate and settlement industry trust accounts

  • Real estate agent lost $43,080 and two settlement agents lost a combined $64,468
  • Victims tricked into transferring trust account funds by scammers posing as bank
  • Consumers and businesses urged to not give out access codes over the phone

Consumer Protection is warning the real estate and settlement industries to be extra vigilant to calls from their bank after scammers successfully lured a WA real estate agent and two settlement agents into transferring large amounts of funds from their trust accounts.

In the last two days, WA ScamNet received one report from a real estate agent who lost a total of $43,080 and two reports from settlement agents who lost a total of $64,468.28.

The victims received a phone call from scammers posing as NAB and were told that a recent payment they had made from their trust account had been blocked as it appeared suspicious, or hadn’t gone through and the account needed to be reset.

Alarmingly, the scammers knew the exact amount of recent payments in each trust account which made them seem legitimate.

To unblock the payment or reset the account, a code was sent to the victims who then gave the code over to the scammers which allowed them to transfer payments out of their trust accounts.

Commissioner for Consumer Protection Trish Blake said it is disturbing how realistic this scam appeared to be and urges consumers and businesses to be vigilant.

“If you receive a call from your bank, no matter how legitimate they may seem, never give out personal details or access codes over the phone,” Ms Blake said.

“The best thing to do is hang up and call your bank back from a known number such as the one on their website or a bank statement.

“It’s unfortunate, but always assume you are talking to a scammer. 

“If you haven’t yet, set up two-factor authentication on your bank accounts which makes it much harder for scammers to access – we know at least one of the victims did not have this set up.”

If you think you have lost money to a scam, immediately call your bank to see if the payment can be retrieved and report it to WA ScamNet by calling 1300 30 40 54 or complete a scam report on the website




Media Contact: Jasmine Sidhu, (08) 6552 9248 / 0429 078 791 /  

Consumer Protection
Media release
30 May 2023

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