Complacency raises concerns as real estate scammers run rampant

Complacency raises concerns as real estate scammers run rampant

After a Gold Coast couple lost $40,000 in a real estate transaction scam, lawyers, estate agents and real estate agents spoke out about the importance of data protection platforms.

Last month, Mitch Wilson and Penny Davies thought they were following their agent’s instructions when they transferred their deposit to a bank account.

However, what appeared to be an email from their estate agent was actually from a scammer – who had hacked into an email account and sent a fraudulent email.

Following this – and other similar cases – a number of industry professionals have started using third-party software to securely transfer funds and sensitive information.

Head of InfoTrack’s real estate team in Australia and key spokesperson for property exchange platform Securexchange, Lee Bailie works with lawyers, estate agents and estate agents to combat the risk of theft financial when selling and paying for a property.

“Everyone is learning how dangerous it is to share sensitive information via email, but because it’s such a familiar and common form of everyday communication, people become complacent,” he said. .

“They see the horror stories in the media and don’t think these situations will happen to them. Meanwhile, hackers are becoming increasingly sophisticated at targeting high-volume transactions, particularly real estate deals, and know exactly when to pounce.

Nicholas Gould, Managing Director of Colwell Conveyancing Group (formerly David Colwell Lawyers), has worked closely with his staff to exercise due diligence and use third-party software to ensure their clients are fully protected and informed of the risks of cybercriminality.

“Securing our data is critical to our business,” he said.

“We prioritize the use of technology platforms to ensure that we provide the highest level of protection for our customers and their information.”

This follows an overhaul of the country’s cybersecurity strategy by Home Secretary and Cybersecurity Minister Clare O’Neil, who ordered her department to “overhaul the cybersecurity strategy”, which was rushed during the COVID-19 pandemic by the former prime minister. Minister Scott Morrison in mid-2020.

Real Estate Institute of Queensland (REIQ) Chief Executive Antonia Mercorella has been a big advocate for cybersecurity awareness and advocating for all parties involved in buying, selling and renting real estate to be vigilant , especially during settlement periods.

“Most businesses are at risk from cyberattacks, but unfortunately cybercrime is becoming a very significant issue for real estate professionals, real estate agents and lawyers, mortgage lenders and their clients involved in real estate transactions,” she said.

“We recommend that you avoid emails to send and receive bank account information, and instead opt to use third-party secure payment platforms that have multi-factor authentication as a much safer option.”

Police also urged parties to double-check all banking information with businesses before paying bills or transferring funds.

“In August alone, we saw 10,000 real estate transactions processed securely within our Securexchange platform. It’s a positive sign that our industry is coming together to fight back, but we still have a long way to go in raising awareness,” Mr Bailie added.

“Sellers and buyers need to be confident that their designated professionals have measures in place to protect them against the growing threats of cybercrime. This was not the case for the unlucky couple.

Complacency raises concerns as real estate scammers run rampant

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Last update: September 09, 2022

Posted: September 09, 2022


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