Steve Fisher and his partner Wanny Chaikusin were about to become homeowners when they were targeted by hackers. (ABC: Michael Brooks)
Mr Fisher had all but given up on his hope to buy a home in his lifetime, after childhood trauma which left him facing a daily battle of PTSD, anxiety and depression.
This year, he reached a compensation settlement for the events of his past and planned to use that money to purchase a home in Tasmania’s north-west.
“I was happy with the settlement and then everything went south,” he told Ms Ward.
During the settlement process, Mr Fisher’s conveyancer sent him an email with settlement details and an account to transfer $90,000 into.
After he made the transfer, Mr Fisher said he received a phone call from the lawyer asking where the money was – the email had been intercepted by a hacker and the account details changed.
“I felt so sick I actually thought I was going to vomit,” Mr Fisher said.
After discovering what had happened, he contacted the two banks he had transferred the funds from and Tasmania Police.
Police traced the hacker to Queensland, even coming up with a name and address. Authorities were unable to apprehend the person responsible.
Mr Fisher was unsure if the money would be recovered, however, after four weeks, all funds were retrieved.
“We were so lucky to get the money back, it was incredible, most people don’t,” he said.
“I never want anyone to feel like we did, it was the longest month of my life.”
Email cloning and fraud is one of the most prevalent forms of cyber thread to the conveyancing industry, especially when sending emails to clients.
While email is built for convenience, it is not built to be as secure as other applications on the market, as noted by Securexchange National Manager, Badr Khabbaz in a recent cyber safety triSearch webinar.
Instead, conveyancers can utilise the Securexchange platform from within their triConvey accounts to securely send trust account details and sensitive information with peace of mind.
For more information on how you can provide your clients a secure settlement, get started with our experts today.