On Friday, DS News, a US publication, wrote of the launch of the Coalition to Stop Real Estate Wire Fraud. The Coalition began in an effort to educate homebuyers about the threat of wire transfer fraud. The Coalition found that particularly first-home buyers were most vulnerable to this type of fraud, however they were not the only ones affected.
“Most real estate professionals know of the problem, but they don’t understand how it occurs and what to do to prevent it.” said US real estate professional Rich Hopen.
Recently, Australian Property Journal shared common hacking scenario and gave our CEO, John Ahern, the opportunity to share his thoughts on just how damaging fraud can be.
"In the case of property transactions, hackers are targeting all parties – buyers, sellers, lawyers, conveyancers and agents. They’re also targeting various stages of the transaction including exchange/deposit and settlement."
According to a survey by Webroot of 600 IT decision makers, a cyber attack costs an Australian SME on average $1.89 million. A successful hack in a property transaction can cost your client their funds and result in costly litigation for your firm. But it’s not only the monetary impact that you should be worried about; there’s also a serious risk to your brand and reputation.
When undertaking a property exchange, key elements of the process that must be guarded against cyber security risk include the Verification of Identity of key persons, the electronic Contract for Sale and the exchange of trust account details for property deposit.
In March 2019, legal-tech pace setter, InfoTrack launched Securexchange, which is designed to stop the need to share trust account details via unsecured emails and protects the reputation of all professional parties involved in the property transaction.
The key to the service is that only verified parties can view trust account and deposit information, streamlining communication between those parties and offering transparency over the progress of the exchange.
Securexchange allows the conveyancing workflow to be secure, transparent and efficient. Further, InfoTrack guarantees that if a deposit is transferred to the verified trust account listed in Securexchange, the deposit funds are guaranteed. This gives clients peace of mind that if there are any security breaches on the part of InfoTrack, then InfoTrack makes sure the deposit funds are returned.
Email fraud has become a major problem in the Australian property. Hackers are continually finding new ways to intercept email communications and divert funds to different accounts, robbing innocent individuals. Your firm is only as strong as the weakest link in your information sharing. To protect your firm, invest in strong technology services and always be smart with what information you share.
Read more about the Coalition to Stop Real Estate Wire Fraud here
Read more of the Australian Property Journal article here
Visit the Securexchange website to learn more and book a demo here