South Australian Police have confirmed the SA real estate industry is currently the target of cybercriminal behaviour, extending to Conveyancers.
The transfer of real property naturally means the transfer of large sums of money – for most people the most you’ll ever pay or receive. Cybercriminals are aware of this and have stepped up their game in recent months to intercept correspondence and change bank account details to be able to redirect electronic fund transfers.
HOW TO PROTECT YOUR FUNDS:
It’s disappointing that in this digital age, Conveyancers, agents and clients must now de-tech some practices to reduce the risk of cybercrime. But before you go looking for a mattress to hide your cash under, rest assured that you CAN still trust the information you receive from your agent and conveyancer, and confidently transfer your funds, so long as you remain vigilant.
At Connolly Wilson Conveyancing, we already have the following measures in place to ensure your funds are secure and protected at all times:
- We will NEVER send you an email with our Trust Account details.
- If funds are requested by email, our Trust Account details will be sent to you via a separate text message.
- We have already provided our Trust Account details to all regular transferors, particularly real estate agents transferring balances of deposit.
- Our account details WILL NOT CHANGE, and any correspondence, even official looking, advising of alternative account details should be treated with caution.
- We will NEVER request YOUR account details by email – all account details for settlement proceeds are collected IN PERSON during your face to face interview (even if the paperwork is emailed to you ahead of time).
- Furthermore, all client proceeds are deposited by way of cheque at the nearest branch of your financial institution, where rigorous checks are made to ensure account details are correct.
As an added precaution, if you are required to deposit an amount into our trust account, call our office to ensure the account details you hold are correct.
South Australian Police have issued the following advice to help clients and practitioners alike avoid being scammed:
- Treat phone calls, emails or letters from a supplier seeking a change to the bank account details you use to pay them, with caution.
- Use the correct, independently verified number from the supplier’s website, or the one you have on file, to call a known contact directly to confirm if the request is legitimate.
- If emailing, type the known email address in the ‘to’ section rather than replying to an email received – scammers often use a very similar email address but with a different suffix or domain name.
- Know that a BSB search, which can easily be done online, will reveal details about a bank account you have been asked to send to.
- Remember words you enter in the free text when conducting bank transfers have no bearing on the transaction – ie writing the name of the account holder does not mean it is that company’s bank account, it can belong to scammers posing as a company.
- Be aware that scammers have also been known to hack Chief Executive officers’ and managers’ email accounts, then send email authorisation to junior officers for the transfer of money into an account controlled by the offenders.
For further information visit www.scamwatch.gov.au or to report a cybercrime and online incidents which may be in breach of Australian Law this can be done through the Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Network (ACORN) http://www.acorn.gov.au – certain reports will then be directed to Australian Law enforcement and government agencies for further investigation.
Connolly Wilson Conveyancing’s team of registered conveyancers are South Australian experts in the legal transfer of interests in real property. The advice on this website is general in nature. We recommend discussing any planned property dealings with us to ensure all relevant details have been considered. You can chat to one of our friendly conveyancers by getting in touch today.