Our most recent annual PayProp Roadshow took place last month, touring Gqeberha, Johannesburg and Cape Town.
The country’s most innovative and forward-thinking agents came in large numbers to network and learn from top rental market experts, including Myles Kritzinger, CEO of Transcend Property Fund; Vanessa Perfect, CEO of Houss; Pieter van den Berg, Director of Just Property Prosper; and Megan Ladbrook, estate agent at Only Realty, as well as a number of our own regulars on the event circuit.
PayProp leaders including CEO Michelle Dickens, Head of Data Analytics Johette Smuts, Head of Sales Andre van Rooyen, and Senior Client Relationship Manager Denise Janse van Vuuren also took to the stage, while Neil Cobbold, Managing Director of PayProp UK, flew in to give an international perspective on residential rentals.
Focusing on fraud
Fraud prevention was top of the agenda at this year’s Roadshow. Fraudsters steal around R2.2 billion each year in South Africa, using sophisticated tactics like business e-mail compromise to trick businesses and consumers into handing over their money.
Estate and rental agents are at particular risk from exploitation by criminals including money launderers as well as fraudsters. In its 2021 report on South Africa, the Financial Action Task Force identified estate agents as particularly exposed to money laundering because of the large flows of money they handle and their often poor understanding of the risks.
It doesn’t have to be that way. At the PayProp Roadshow, we shared a five-point security check to help agents beat the fraudsters and protect their businesses and clients. PayProp’s security experts recommend that agents:
- Carefully check any changes to beneficiaries’ bank details on their books, and preferably ensure that only the business principal can approve changes.
- Make sure that tenant funds are going to the right properties, and that funds from one property are not being used improperly to cover expenses from another.
- Monitor credit note usage to ensure it isn’t covering up fraud.
- Check that all of your tenants have deposits in place. If any do not, it is important to find out why and to get a deposit in place as soon as possible.
- Make sure all users on your agency’s PropTech platforms are current employees, and that they only have the permissions necessary to do their jobs.
PayProp users can find a more detailed version of the five-point security check under their Resources tab on the platform, which includes step-by-step instructions for performing these checks using PayProp.