Buying a home is a significant emotional and financial investment, and it is very stressful when things don’t go to plan. Many of our clients will have been made aware of the recent property settlement incident which resulted in A$250,000 being stolen from a former MasterChef contestant, Dani Venn and her family, after their conveyancer’s electronic settlement (“PEXA”) account was hacked by a scammer who added themselves as a user and altered the payment directions. Nevile & Co. currently uses PEXA for some of its settlements.
Nevile & Co. settlements have not been the target of any hacking, or other fraudulent activity by scammers. However, when Nevile & Co. was alerted to the case of fraud, we immediately increased monitoring of our settlement transactions, and any changes made to settlement instructions. We have a long standing policy to proactively confirm that all settlement activity is legitimate, and in accordance with our clients’ instructions. Therefore, we do not and cannot take email instructions on face value. While it may at times be inconvenient for clients to be asked to reconfirm their instructions, at the end of the day, it is a small price to pay for peace of mind in your property settlement.
It is also worth noting that is not always the law firm that scammers target. Individuals have been known to lose money when scammers have hacked into their email system ,and altered payment directions sent by third parties. The key for practitioners and their clients alike is to be vigilant at all times, double check payment details before making a payment, and confirm by telephone any unusual or altered payment instructions.
If you have any concerns or queries regarding your upcoming settlement please do not hesitate to contact Nevile & Co. at firstname.lastname@example.org.