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By Laura Valenti, Managing Director

The use of email in facilitating financial transactions has enabled a new breed of ‘Bank Robbers’ via identity theft.

One chilling example comes from a colleague of mine who owned a real estate business in a major franchise. He facilitated a property purchase and received an email from the seller’s solicitor advising of a change of trust account details for the purchaser to deposit the funds. Fortunately, my colleague picked up the phone to confirm and it was found that the email was fraudulent. Someone had hacked into the solicitor’s email account and was having funds redirected into their account.

Another office of the same franchise was not so lucky – $250,000 was transferred into the fraudulent account and lost – and insurance would not cover it.

To protect against such risks, we have a strict policy on changing details such as bank details and email addresses. Before we will update our system, we require a ‘Change of Details’ form to be completed, signed by ALL owners of the property, and returned to us. For a change of email address, we will also make a call where possible as a final confirmation.

We understand that this procedure may cause some annoyance, but I am sure you agree this is a small price to pay for protecting your income.

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