In late 2017 and early 2018, several Adelaide property buyers had their funds for settlement intercepted by 3rd parties. This has prompted the Conveyancing sector to reflect on this new threat and implement new processes to counteract 3rd parties from intercepting account details.
How the scammers/3rd parties hit Adelaide Conveyancers
A summary from SA Real Estate News in October has outlined the attack –
In essence, the criminals intercepted emails containing banking instructions sent from conveyancers to their clients, and they changed the banking details so that money got sent to the scammers instead of into the conveyancers’ trust accounts.
The Australian Institute of Conveyancers SA has recommended to their members to take the following steps –
- Not sending trust account details and requests for moneys in the body of an email
- Advising clients that trust details will not be requested by email (and why)
- Advising client’s to contact their conveyancer immediately, should they receive a request for monies via email
- Advising clients verbally or in writing (hard copy) of trust account details – they are recommending this be done in person, in the letter of engagement, or at the time of the VOI interview
- Contacting IT advisors to have their firewall/security checked
- Obtaining cybercrime insurance
- Ensuring there is a written plan for dealing with cyber security breaches
At Tuckfield Conveyancing, we have introduced new protocols.
To protect our client’s funds, we are no longer able to provide our trust account details via email or a pdf attachment.
Our team now operates under the following guidelines:
- Clients will receive a settlement statement only as an email attachment
- Our trust account details will be provided to you either prior to the statement being released or shortly thereafter, typically via a telephone call, SMS or at your Verification of Identity appointment
- Any Vendors or 3rd party payments for sale settlements will receive a phone call from our team confirming their account details prior to us undertaking any electronic transfers to ensure we have the correct details for you.
Despite the many changes within our industry, our office is staying at the forefront to ensure your personal and financial information is stored safely to avoid theft.
If at any time you are unsure that the information provided to you is correct, please call our office and speak to the Conveyancer managing your file. We will verify if the information that you have received has been provided by our office.