Property deals can be particularly attractive to fraudsters due to the large sums of money involved and brokers should also beware of scams used to target borrowers and buyers.
The trade body has updated its Cyberfraud & Fraud Protocol for members, which includes updated definitions for the various different methods employed by criminals.
- Vishing – where fraudsters call victims on the phone, posing as a bank, government agency or other organisation in a bid to commit identity fraud
- Smishing – where fraudsters contact victims, posing as legitimate organisations, by text message, hoping to get hold of their personal details
- Phishing – where fraudsters pretend to be genuine firms through email communication
- Spear phishing – a form of phishing scam where the victim is a specific individual, organisation or business. They can then attempt to intercept their emails and misdirect funds.
- Whaling fraud – whaling is a form of phishing fraud which specifically targets someone in the upper management of a business.
- The protocol includes specific new guidance for conveyancers, covering areas such as on the disposal of documents and cards and the need for a documented recovery plan in case of a malware attack.
Property fraud has been a hot topic in recent months, with one case where criminals made off with the best part of £600,000 after convincing the victim that his conveyancer’s bank account details had been changed, leading to the funds being diverted.
Beth Rudolf, director of delivery at the Conveyancing Association, said the protocol allows for firms to clarify how stringent their defences are and if there is the potential for breaches.
She continued: “We know that the threat from fraudsters will not stop, and they are constantly coming up with new methods, therefore firms have to be continually on their guard. By following our protocol we believe they are covering off as many bases as possible and ensuring they are doing all they can in the fight against fraud.”