In 2018, there was 57,060 reports of attempts to gain personal information with a financial loss totalling $10,297,195, according to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.
The property industry is a target for these types of scams. High-value transactions conducted primarily via email are extremely attractive to hackers who are skilled at phishing personal information to execute sophisticated email fraud.
Long gone are the days when scams were as easily detectable as the misspelled emails from Nigerian princes. Cybercriminals have learned how to craft highly professional looking emails that appear to come directly from trusted individuals.
Hackers learn the conveyancing process inside out. They phish personal information to hack into the accounts of buyers, sellers, real estate agents, lawyers and conveyancers and monitor the progress of transactions to perfectly time their attacks. They wait until funds are ready for transfer and then impersonate the party they’ve hacked in order to redirect money into fraudulent accounts.
In 2018, there were several high-profile email hacking cases reported in the media that resulted in hundreds of thousands of dollars in losses for buyers and sellers across Australia.
In Brisbane, home seller Andrew Buckley lost $90,000 when his real estate agent transferred the deposit money to a fraudulent account based on a fake email with updated account details.
In Melbourne, former MasterChef contestant Dani Venn lost $250,000 from the settlement of her property when her conveyancer’s account was hacked and the bank details updated.
In Adelaide, a woman lost over $500,000 to a scammer who used hacked information to pose as her conveyancer over mail and instructed her to transfer purchase money into a fraudulent trust account.
These are just a few examples that only scratch the surface of the issue. Most cases go unreported to protect the reputation of the professionals involved.
Confirming account details via email simply isn’t worth the risk any more. If anyone in the transaction gets hacked, not only are large sums of money at risk but your reputation is on the line. As professionals, being caught up in a fraud scandal can have serious negative impact on your brand and trust.
InfoTrack has been working with our clients and industry stakeholders to develop a secure way to exchange sensitive account and transaction information.
Securexchange is a secure website that enables parties to communicate and confirm trust account details in a safe environment. It’s only accessible to authorised users and each property has its own transaction space which can only be accessed by verified parties and requires two-factor authentication.
It’s a simple, secure, solution that is easy for all parties to use and is backed by a guarantee to provide you with peace of mind that your transactions are protected. We’re offering this to the market as a complimentary service because we want to encourage take-up and ensure everyone is protected.
Before any money is transferred for your next property transaction, make sure you’re using Securexchange so your funds and your reputation are protected.
Click here to learn more or create an account.
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