Sharing financial details through regular channels are becoming increasingly targeted by scammers, according to Securexchange National Manager, Badr Khabbaz, at a recent cyber security webinar.
The session, Cyber Security & Conveyancing: How to keep your transactions secure, saw participants attend a 30-minute update on the state of cyber fraud in the conveyancing industry, including methods of prevention.
Badr started by sharing a case study of someone recently involved in a property of sale, where Trust Account details were sent via email and followed up by phone call.
This phone call was then followed by a secondary email where fraudulent account details were provided. Fortunately, the change in detailers was picked up by the stakeholders involved and proceeded to alert the firm.
This however, highlighted an area of concern constantly surrounding the conveyancing industry with the secure sharing of financial details.
Badr also shared recent statistics from the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission, with most recent stats revealing that Australians lost a record amount of more than $2 billion to scams in 2021.
Adding that on average, the ACCC receive two reports per week of scams in a property transaction.
He said: “Weekly we are seeing new ways of hackers trying to intercept funds transfers, it’s not always the same method.
“So, from a lawyer or conveyancer perspective, we need to stay ahead of the game as well and constantly monitoring what’s happening in the market right now, ensuring that we have processes to combat those.”
One of the largest grossing scam in Australia in 2021 were payment redirected scams, which saw Australian businesses lose $227 million, a 77 per cent increase compared to 2020, the ACCC’s latest Targeting Scams report reveals.
Speaking to these figures, Badr explained: “Most lawyers and conveyancers when speaking to clients about sharing sensitive information, primarily send it through email.
“Unfortunately, email programs were never built to be a safe way of communicating.
“With the current COVID-19 pandemic, we can imagine that’s dramatically increased as well over time.”
Badr explained that in nearly 99 per cent of cases with payment redirected scams, if the conveyancer or lawyer had used multi-factor identification, there wouldn’t have been a case.
“Multi factor authentication on email accounts is really important to safeguard yourself and your firm,” he said.
“Attempt to never send sensitive information via email and use secure technology available.”
As part of triSearch’s commitment to safeguarding your business, as an increased measure of security when exchanging documents and funds, the complimentary Securexchange service is available for all triSearch accounts.