At Keats Estate Agents Haslemere and Keats Letting we recognise the importance of keeping clients and customers safe online and we are helping to raise awareness of the importance of cyber security. It comes as there is concern throughout the property industry that estate and letting agents need to take more action to prevent cyber attacks.
It came to our attention that computer hackers are targeting property transactions several months ago when a £77,000 transaction was ’diverted’ on its way from a buyer to a local solicitor and disappeared into an untraceable bank account.
We understand that mobile phones, tablets or desktops may be hacked. This usually occurs when the user mistakenly opens a malicious email, giving the hacker access to that device. Once the hacker has gained access, they can monitor all email correspondence, without you knowing, even tapping into a financial transaction arrangement.
At a relevant point in the transaction process such as just before exchange of contracts, the hacker can send an email to the unsuspecting party mirroring that of their conveyancer asking for funds to be transferred to a certain bank account. That money then disappears.
Fortunately Keats Estate Agents Haslemere and Keats Letting haven’t had a direct experience of this, but we feel it is important to highlight the fact that if you do receive an email requesting funds, it is worth double checking with the person concerned by phone to make sure its genuine and that the bank account details are correct.
Keats Letting in particular are now exploring ways of sharing bank details without the use of email such as the MyPropertyFile App which is available to all landlords and tenants or WhatsApp - the free encrypted App available for iPhone and android.
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