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Posted by: dezrezsysadmin - Monday, October 31st, 2016
Fraud can affect all aspects of our economy and unfortunately conveyancing is not exempt from this. Conveyancing as an industry is very attractive to a potential fraudster due to the large amount of monies going between conveyancing firms, other firms, banks and clients bank accounts on a daily basis. The Law Society has reported increases in this area so it is important that all parties related become extra vigilant especially when it comes to transferring sums of money.
When you are in the process of purchasing a property, depending on the clients’ financial circumstances, it is likely that you will have to transfer monies to your conveyancers’ client account. Over recent years there has been an increase in communicating electronically with clients; so often instructions on transferring the funds will be sent by this method. Once your conveyancer send these instructions it is important to contact the firm by telephone using either the phone number on the initial letter received from their offices or by visiting the Law Society or CLC to obtain their contact details. When contacting their offices, it is important you insist on speaking to the head of your team/department to clarify the bank details you have received to confirm whether the ones provided are accurate. The reason this is important is that fraudsters are able to intercept emails and amend the information contained.
Having mentioned email interceptions this can also apply where conveyancers forward proceeds to their clients. If a client sends bank details by email it is vital that rather than amending these the conveyancer should contact the client using the contact details on file to confirm the accuracy of these. A similar procedure should also be carried out if a sellers’ conveyancers’ change their bank details and these do not match the lender exchange. In such circumstances, you should contact their offices using their details on either received posted correspondence or on the CLC or Law Society databases. The change in details must be confirmed with either a Director or Partner before proceeding with any money transfer.
Conveyancers must also be able to identity clone emails which incorporate malware software to intercept and amend email communications. Common examples are emails claiming to dealing with an urgent completion where the emails ends in either @gmail, @hotmail or @live.
If you suspect that you have been targeted for fraud or your firm has it is essential that this is reported to the SRA/CLC who will be able to investigate.
In order to reduce the risk of fraud, bank details must be checked through alternative methods other than relying on the source that it is received. In particular, I think these procedures should be carried out by conveyancers on the day of completion.
Remember be vigilant with your funds.
At dezrezlegal we take all these matters very seriously to ensure our client safety.