By Jessica Barker, Senior Settlements Clerk and Jacinta Rimato, Settlements Manager, Sargeants Geelong and Bellarine Conveyancing
In this day and age, cyber security is becoming more of an issue. Firms are constantly updating their IT systems and processes to ensure they and their clients are safe. In the property industry, a big part of business entails clients transferring large amounts of money to complete settlement transactions.
As internet scamming and email intercepting is becoming more common with the use of technology, we are hearing more and more stories within the media, that clients are losing their money.
In October 2019, the Sydney Morning Herald reported that, “Australians are reporting incidents of cybercrime about every 10 minutes, according to statistics released by the nation’s cyber security watchdog.”
Another recent case features a Gold Coast man who allegedly requested a housing deposit be released from a trust fund early, leaving the buyer without their money or the property.
Why isn’t virus scanning software enough?
When it comes to hacking and IT breaches, property lawyers, conveyancers and real estate agents face significant challenges. Your firm is only as strong as the weakest link in your information sharing. Solutions like multi-factor authentication and virus scanning software are only part of the equation in keeping your firm cyber safe. Hackers are getting smarter and smarter, continually finding new ways to intercept email communications and divert funds to different accounts, robbing innocent individuals.
Sargeants Conveyancing strive to provide the best possible customer service to all of our clients. Our aim is to provide a stress-free transaction whilst providing friendly and knowledgeable service. The Australian Cyber Security Centre reported that, “More than 13,500 reports of cybercrime have been received by the Australian Cyber Security Centre since July 2019. Victoria made up the bulk of those reports at 26 per cent (3,027 reports).”
As a Victorian-based conveyancing firm, the team at Sargeants found these statistics alarming. We realised that with this increase in fraud cases, we needed to do something more to protect our clients and keep their mind at ease.
To battle this industry trend, we took the initiative and implemented Securexchange. Many clients expressed how appreciative they were that we took the initiative to keep their property funds safe and secure, whilst helping them feel confident to transfer large amounts of money.
Three ways Securexchange has impacted our business:
- It enhanced our reputation
- It has become a selling point to new clients
- It gives both sides peace of mind that transferred funds are safe and secure.
Email fraud has become a major problem in the Australian property. To protect your firm, invest in strong technology services and always be smart with what information you share. Know who you are communicating with and always choose the safest method to do so.