Aussie man’s home sold while he’s out of the country

Now this is what you call lax underwriting. Picture this: you’re taking a relaxing summer vacation overseas or perhaps a business trip, soaking up the sun or networking over drinks, when you get call from your neighbor back home saying that a house of yours was in the process of being sold. This shocking and uncanny circumstance happened to an Australian man, Roger Mildenhall. He had been out of his hometown, a suburb of Perth, for over a year when he heard the news. On top of that, his second property and permanent residence was sold in June. Locks changed and all. The case is the first of its kind in Australia. The thieves obviously had enough of Mildenhall’s personal information to satisfy regulatory requirements. But the entire transaction, between “Mildenhall” and property manager/selling agent, took place through email, fax and telephone, according to the Australian office of the Consumer Protection Commissioner. ZDNet Australia, a country specific ezine published by CBS Interactive, said the real estate agent involved did not request a 100-point identity check and was not required to do so. “The matter is being fully investigated,” said Anne Driscoll, the Consumer Protection Commissioner. “It is important that every phase of the sale and transfer process that was undertaken in this instance is reviewed, to ascertain what went wrong. This no doubt will give some clarity about what should [or] could have been done to prevent it.” Ever heard of high touch? Well, it appears scammers have as well… Write to Christine Ricciardi.

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