Online Fraud, Identity Theft and Hacking

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The rise of technology has meant an explosion in attempted frauds in all areas of business and property.  This is particularly true of real estate, as it is an area where large sums of money are constantly being transferred back and forth between parties.

Let’s look at ways that we help minimise our clients’ exposure have to fraud, identity theft and hacking in our day-to-day conveyancing.

How can hackers obtain my private information?

As part of conveyancing, both buying and selling, we require a substantial amount of private information to help us identify you and ensure that someone else is not trying to sell your property on your behalf!

This private information includes details such as full legal names, dates of birth, residential and postal address, bank account details and other confidential information. Much of this sort of information can be obtained by fraudsters and identity thieves from publicly available records or by hacking, phishing or trolling through unsecure email transmissions.

What do we do to minimise risks on our end of identity theft?

We have two way of confirming identity as part of the conveyancing process:

  1. We send a verification of identity link online to the personal email address, which can then only be accessed by you providing a code texted to your personal mobile number; or
  2. We ask that you attend our office in person with two copies of current ID such as passports and licenses.

These help us check current ID against your picture. The verification of identity link asks you to send a video of yourself reading out a four digit code number as part of the process.

What can you do to minimise risks on your end for fraudulently obtained personal information?

You should also ensure to take steps to minimise the risk of hacks. Some of the steps you can take are outlined before.

  1. If you are unsure about any links received by email or text, then contact us to confirm that we have actually sent you a link.
  2. If you receive any sort of email from anyone (even an email which looks like our email address), give that person a call to confirm the email was actually sent by the ‘sender’.
  3. Confirm our trust account details (or the deposit holder’s trust account details) over the phone with one of our team before you make any sort of transfer, regardless of the amount.
  4. If anyone you have never spoken to contacts you in any way to transfer any sum of money, immediately call the staff member you have been in contact with during the course of your matter to confirm whether or not that person has authority to contact you and request money from you.
  5. Do not send personal information via email, such as your bank account numbers. It is safer if you call to confirm the account details over the phone or even via text message, we still recommend that you contact us over the phone when sending account details by text message.

Who should you speak with to assist you in minimising risks of fraud, identity theft and hacking?

If you have any concern about transferring funds for settlement, paying your deposit or even paying an invoice in relation to your matter, contact us by telephone to discuss. We will be able to walk you through the process assist in minimising any risk or exposure to hackers, identity thieves and anyone attempting fraud.    

The information provided in this article is for general information and educative purposes in summary form on legal topics which is current at the time it is published. The content does not constitute legal advice or recommendations and should not be relied upon as such. Whilst every care has been taken in the preparation of this article, FC Lawyers cannot accept responsibility for any errors, including those caused by negligence, in the material. We make no representations, statements or warranties about the accuracy or completeness of the information and you should not rely on it. You are advised to make your own independent inquiries regarding the accuracy of any information provided on this website. FC Lawyers does not guarantee, and accepts no legal responsibility whatsoever arising from or in connection to the accuracy, reliability, currency, correctness or completeness of any material contained in this article. Links to third party websites or articles does not constitute any endorsement or approval of those sites or the owners of those sites. Nothing in this article should be construed as granting any licence or right for you to use that content. You should consult the third party’s terms and conditions of use in relation to any third-party content. FC Lawyers disclaims all responsibility and all liability (including liability for negligence) for all expenses, losses, damages and costs you might incur as a result of the information being inaccurate or incomplete in any way. Appropriate legal advice should always be obtained in actual situations.


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