Don’t underestimate a hacker. How we are safeguarding our e-conveyancing clients.

Don’t underestimate a hacker. How we are safeguarding our e-conveyancing clients.

We have all seen or heard of the reports: being swindled out of money by love, a door-to-door salesperson, or a phone call from your favourite charity looking for donations. These scams are now being coupled with the ever-evolving threat of being hacked: cyberhacking. With cybersecurity becoming more and more of a risk in today’s fast-paced online transaction world, cyber hackers and fraudsters are becoming smarter in their ways, and unfortunately, everyone is at risk.

Tapping into people’s emotions and trust, especially when around the time of buying a house, hackers are now seeking to impersonate the emails of some law and conveyancing firms. In an e-conveyancing public case last year (not Duffy & Simon), an email account was hacked into during the conveyancing and settlement period of a house transaction.

Imagine this, you just signed the contract to purchase your forever home. Everything is streamlined for your settlement date, one of the last things to do is to transfer the money. You receive the email from your lawyer that today is that day and the details are in the email below to transfer the money over. You don’t second guess it because you have been on this journey from the start with your law firm. You transfer the money and wait for the keys to be in hand. Days later it is realised that the money never landed into the account of the law firm and they have no trace of sending an email to you requesting the money transfer. The money has gone to a cyberattacker.

With the move to e-conveyancing and more streamlined efficient file operation processes, it is important to look at the bigger picture. With less and less face to face contact with clients during the purchase and settlement of a property, security is an extremely large consideration.

Adoption of some basic principles in house allows firms to safeguard themselves regarding cyber fraud, specifically in regards to obtaining and sharing bank account information. Here at Duffy & Simon, we use the following principles to safeguard our clients:

  • Strict VOI (Identity Check) policies
  • Two-factor verification of account details prior to authorising the disbursement of funds (written and verbal verification)

Part of the beauty of e-conveyancing is the streamlining of processes. Our clients are able to access a portal which gives them a real-time overview of each stage of their settlement. Our in-house cybersecurity policies also enable us to touch base with clients over the phone at a crucial point in the transaction.

We utilise the e-conveyancing lodgement network, PEXA (Property Exchange Australia) whose security policies are constantly being reviewed and updated. Recently we had a case where a workspace had been signed off and then there were last-minute changes made to financials. This was quite a significant change and immediately the firm received a call from PEXA requesting verification that it was an authorised change from us.

Here at Duffy & Simon, we are leading the way in digital transformation workflows and procedures for our clients, with e-conveyancing at the forefront of this transformation. To help safeguard clients we have implemented in-house cybersecurity personnel and policies which are constantly being reviewed for effectiveness. If you would like to find out more about e-conveyancing please contact us on 03 5941 1622 or email or click here to learn more.