As more of our services are delivered 'on-line' and email has become the primary method of communication, there is an increased risk of cyber fraud. We regularly review our processes and systems to ensure the safe and secure delivery of documents and other communications to our clients.
Sadly, there are many examples of cyber fraud involving transfer of funds, often during property transactions. We wrote about one real event in our previous blog, “Electronic Funds Transfer warning - everything is not always as it seems”.
Following these tips will assist you with ensuring your information and, importantly, your funds remain secure during the course of your legal transaction.
How we assist with preventing cyber fraud during your legal transactions with us
- If we email instructions to you to transfer funds to a specific account, then we will verify those bank details over the phone to ensure that you have the correct bank details before you transfer the funds. By confirming the bank account and other vital details over the phone, we prevent the risks associated with emails being intercepted and adjusted by cyber criminals.
- If we receive banking instructions from you via email, to transfer funds to a specific account, then we will call the contact number we have on file to verify those banking details over the phone before we transfer the funds to the nominated bank account.
- We confirm in various correspondence to you and on our email signature that the banking instructions for our trust account will never change over the course of a matter.
- We will never advise you of a change in our bank details or phone number by email or text message.
- We regularly check for any unauthorised changes to the Rules in our email accounts.
Our recommendations to help you prevent cyber fraud during your legal transactions
There are a few steps that you can take to assist with protecting your information and funds, in addition to the steps we take:
- If you receive any emails from our firm that seem suspicious, do not open or download the attachments.
- If you receive a suspicious email, please call our normal office number to advise us immediately – 02 9997 2111.
- We will never advise you to send funds to an account other than our trust or office account.
- We will never change our bank details over the course of a matter, via email.
- If you do receive an email which appears to be from us which is requesting a change to the bank details provided, then do not send any funds and let us know immediately via phone.
- When contacting us via phone, always use the number you have for us and always ask to speak with the person handling your matter. Do not use the phone number in the suspicious email.
What to do if you think you have been a victim of cyber fraud during your matter?
If you think that you have been a victim of cyber fraud in a matter with us, the first thing we encourage you to do is get in touch as soon as possible. This way we can investigate from our side to confirm whether or not you have been. From there we will be able to advise you on what steps to next take.