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CYBERCRIME WARNING – INFORMATION & REPORTING

6 Oct 17

The AICSA and REISA are becoming increasingly concerned about a worrying trend affecting real estate professionals as a number of SA businesses have recently been targeted by cyber thieves.

Cybercrime is an issue which impacts the lives of many Australians. Common types of cybercrime include hacking, online scams and fraud, identity theft, attacks on computer systems and illegal or prohibited online content.

Recent SA Cybercrime Incident

Recently a member has advised that an email communication from their office advising of the Trust Account details was (somehow but presumably due to a Trojan horse on the clients computer) intercepted by a third party, and the bank account details were changed by that third party. For all intent and purposes the email to the client looked perfectly legitimate. Luckily, in a phone conversation the client mentioned depositing the $100k into the "Westpac Account" when in fact the member's trust account was with Commonwealth Bank.

The email from the member to the client was intercepted, changed to redirect funds to an unknown account and without luck on the member's side via the phone conversation, could well have lost the $100k.

Recommendations

Both AICSA and REISA are urging members to communicate directly (verbally) with clients when advising clients of trust account details, the following mitigation tools are also suggested:

  • Do not send trust account details and requests for moneys in the body of an email;
  • Advise your client that trust details will not be requested by email (and why);
  • Advise client’s to contact you immediately should they receive a request for monies via email;
  • Advise clients verbally or in writing (hard copy) of trust account details – this can be in person, in your letter of engagement, at the time of the VOI interview; and
  • Attaching a pdf letter to an email enclosing trust account details should mitigate your risk, but would not be recommended as best practice.

It is imperative that each member consider extras measures and changes in office procedures to ensure your electronic transmission are not manipulated by any third party cyber-criminal and to ensure client's money's are not siphoned away.

It is recommended that you undertake a review of your insurance coverage that should include Cybercrime – both AICSA and REISA are looking into options for Members.

If you or your client is the victim of a Cybercrime you should report it immediately to SA Police on 131 444.

Below are some useful links to learn more about Cybercrime, how you can mitigate your exposure and advice on what to do if you or your client is a victim of Cybercrime.

Scamwatch - ACCC

https://www.scamwatch.gov.au/

Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Network

https://www.acorn.gov.au/


Rebecca Hayes, CEO AICSA


Greg Troughton, CEO REISA

 

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