20 May 2016 by

Fraud and Cyber Crime – tips for the prudent client

As fraud and cyber crime become more sophisticated, it is even more important for law firms to develop practices and policies to protect their clients. At Bolt Burdon, we have developed clear procedures and policies which are designed to protect our clients and their assets.

Unfortunately, cyber crime is on the rise. The Telegraph recently published a story about Andrew Doyle and Susan Paul who lost approximately £200,000 when they transferred funds to a bank account they believed belonged to the firm representing them. Unbeknown to them, their email account had been hacked and a legitimate email from their solicitor had been deleted and replaced with different bank details. The fake email was subsequently sent to the clients who, believing it was real, transferred £200,000 to an unknown account. This left the couple with no money and no home.

Sadly this kind of scenario is becoming increasingly common in the world of conveyancing, where large sums of money change hands on a daily basis. Legal cases in the courts illustrate many examples of fraud and cyber crime, ranging from the creation of fake law firms to the successful impersonation of others.

So how can Bolt Burdon’s conveyancing team protect you?

  1. We always provide our clients with our bank details at the outset of a transaction and assure our clients that these details will not change.
  2. At the outset of every transaction, we ask our clients to make a small payment on account and we always confirm receipt of funds.
  3. We carry out lawyer checks in all transactions to make sure we are dealing with someone who is regulated by the legal profession e.g. that they are genuine lawyers.
  4. We have access to the Lender Exchange system, which allows us to verify the seller’s solicitors bank details before sending them any funds.
  5. We have an in-house IT team who provide support services to our staff including up-to-date security systems and anti-virus software.
  6. We also have an in-house compliance team, whose role is to ensure that our lawyers and other staff comply with internal quality procedures and external requirements such as anti-money laundering legislation and identity checks.

Despite these procedures, we do not underestimate the role our clients can play in helping us tackle these risks. The following is food for thought when you are about to instruct, or have already instructed, a firm of solicitors or licensed conveyancers to act on your behalf:

  1. Consider carefully whether you want to send your bank details by email. If you have concerns about this, call instead so you can give your bank details over the phone.
  2. Think twice before you post on social media! If you have just exchanged contracts on a purchase you never know if there is a fraudster who may try to target you.
  3. Check whether your own computers or laptops have up to date anti-virus software and check whether the passwords you use adequately protect you against the risk of being hacked.

Fraud and cyber crime are developing areas. At Bolt Burdon we strive to ensure that we keep ahead of the latest developments, and continually improve our procedures in order to protect our clients. If you have any further suggestions on this front, we would love to hear from you.

For help with buying or selling your home, or for a fixed fee quotation, please contact Joseph Caulfield at josephcaulfield@boltburdon.co.uk or on 0207 288 4715.

6 May 2016 by

Holiday Pay: Employers must pay commission

As we start to prepare for a summer of holidays and good weather (hopefully!), it is worth looking at a […]

13 May 2016 by Leah Veasey

The Right to Manage (RTM)

If you are a leaseholder and unhappy with your landlord or managing agents, over high service charges or because your […]

Signup To Our Weekly e-News

"*" indicates required fields

We’ll never share your details with any third party in line with our privacy policy.