Protecting yourself from being a victim of cybercrime

Conveyancing clients and conveyancers are being increasingly targeted by fraudsters who have realised that millions of pounds are transferred around the banking system on the strength of no more than an email or phone call containing bank details and the amounts to be sent.

The fraudsters have developed sophisticated ways of diverting this money by a combination of identity theft, intercepting emails, and persuading clients to transfer sums to bogus accounts by impersonating solicitors and banks. Usually none of the money is recovered and the clients lose out.

We want to make sure that this doesn’t happen to you. Here are some tips:

  • Do not announce your house move on social media such as Facebook, thereby making yourself somebody of interest to criminals
  • Don’t open suspicious or unknown emails – our addresses start with our staff initials followed by but remember email addresses can be cloned by criminals
  • Fraudsters could also clone any of our telephone numbers, so if a call that seems to be from us is unexpected or unusual, end the conversation and call us using a different telephone or ring us after five minutes because the fraudster may still be on your line
  • Check your bank statements regularly for unauthorised activity and notify your bank immediately should you find anything unusual.

We also recommend that you take steps to prevent fraudsters from infiltrating your computer.

  • Install anti-virus and anti-malware software on your devices and make sure that you run regular scans (some software does not scan automatically)
  • Use a firewall on your computer to prevent unauthorised access
  • Ensure that you are operating the latest versions of programmes and only install software from trusted sources
  • Do not use public wi-fi to send or receive emails to us or to enter your bank account details online
  • Don’t let anyone that you do not trust get physical access to your computer
  • Do not allow anyone to get access to your computer over the internet for any reason at all
  • Do not enter your bank account details, passwords, user IDs or payment card details on websites unless the site is secure and the web address starts with https:// not http (the ‘s’ stands for secure)
  • Create secure passwords that are long, unique, and use a mix of random numbers and lower and upper case letters
  • Change your passwords regularly and don’t share them.

For further advice see the GOV.UK page. The Financial Fraud Action UK Ltd website, Take Five, also contains useful information.

The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.