Top tips to protect yourself from large financial loss during a property exchange
Legal Practice Intelligence recently published this piece for InfoTrack on 'Top tips to protect yourself from large financial loss during a property exchange.'
Today, hearing about fraud and identity theft is unfortunately not uncommon. This month, land valuer LandMark White was hit with a data leak, reporting that, “it’s reputation and financial future hang in the balance.”
Lawyers need to stop emailing trust account details and contracts to their clients. The risks of sharing bank account details via email are high. Australian businesses lost more than $7.2 million to email scammers last year according to an Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) report. What is more concerning, is the cases of fraud and identity theft that are not reported due to fear of reputational damage.
“Scammers are hacking business email systems and impersonating the intended payment recipient,” ACCC deputy chair Mick Keogh said. “Depending on how long the scammers get away with this and how large the transfers are, this scam can be devastating to a business’s bottom line – to the extent of forcing small and medium businesses into closure.” While they may not be a small or medium business, this may be the reality for LandMark White.
Across Australia in the property space, in 2018 alone, Victorian property buyers collectively lost more than $200,000 to a hacking scam targeting the email accounts of real estate agents. A Brisbane man lost $90,000 of his deposit proceeds from the sale of his Gold Coast investment property and two property buyers in South Australia also lost close to $1 million through email scams. These incidents are not indiscriminate nor in isolation.
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