A proactive approach to cyber security pays off

A proactive approach to cyber security pays off

Friday afternoon fraud – it’s when criminals target conveyancing firms, the busiest time of the week and – it’s on the increase, a recent cyber security review has found. The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) reported that there was a 113% rise in fraud alerts between March 2020 and March 2021, with 89% of all 2020 alerts involving scammers impersonating real firms during a legal transaction with clients.

The exchange of funds between a client and solicitor or from a solicitor to a client is where the criminals tend to focus their efforts, although theft of confidential data also poses a very real threat. Protecting your firm is crucial – not only because of the amount of cash at stake but also the priceless damage such crimes can do to your firm’s reputation.

Tom Lyes, Director of Engagement at legal cyber security experts Lawyer Checker, a strategic partner of Thames Water Property Searches on cyber fraud, explains that the sector is highly attractive to cyber criminals, thanks to the amount of sensitive data involved and the high sums of money changing hands. He attributes the rising threat to the continued buoyancy of the property market.

“Conveyancing is a target for fraudsters because they know there are regular high value transactions taking place. Conveyancers are extremely busy and stressed at the moment, it’s a fast-moving environment and mistakes can happen. Criminals feel there is a vulnerability within the sector which they can exploit.”

The good news is that by taking a proactive approach, there is much you can, and should do, to ensure your business doesn’t fall prey to the cyber scammers.

Companies such as Lawyer Checker provide annual cyber security accreditation through their cyber essentials and cyber essentials plus certifications.

Says Lyes,

Achieving the accreditations is often not as hard as you might think. These are not always huge and complex infrastructure changes, more tweaks. Ask yourself what barriers are you displaying to criminals, how does your firm look from the outside? What will put them off and make them look elsewhere for an easier target?”

Lyes explains that communicating with clients verbally, rather than via email, is vital.

‘Tell your clients verbally how you will be asking them to pay their deposit funds. Don’t send bank details via email. Clients have sent deposit funds to fraudsters because of communicating via email. Email is not secure, it’s too risky.’

Training your staff should also be a priority in preventing cybercrime. A security aware culture where employees know about common scams to look out for, such as phishing emails and rogue websites, will give your firm the edge.

“It’s really important that businesses invest heavily in people and training,”

says Lyes.

“The National Cyber Security Centre website offer half an hour training for free which is a great place to start.”

Think about extra barriers you can put in place to make your firm more cyber secure. These can include measures to improve password security – such as ensuring staff don’t use the same passwords for work and personal email, and two factor authentication for staff email. It’s also possible to check whether email passwords have been sold on the dark web via visiting haveibeenpwned.com. If so, it is advisable to change the password to avoid it being used in a cyber-attack.

With many people still working remotely it’s also important to set up a virtual private network (VPN) to ensure data security for those staff who are at home rather than the office.

Rest assured that at Thames Water Property Searches we are here to support your firm. As well as being the official supplier of the CON29DW Drainage & Water Enquiry, we also offer a comprehensive range of property searches and discounted search packs, offering convenience and value. We are dedicated to training and cyber security is just one of the topics up for discussion at our regular free CPD webinars. Thames Water Property Searches put you and your clients first.

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This article was submitted to be published by Thames Water Property Searches as part of their advertising agreement with Today’s Conveyancer. The views expressed in this article are those of the submitter and not those of Today’s Conveyancer

Thames Water Property Searches

 

 

 

 

 

Thames Water Property Searches – Your full service provider

We are experienced national providers of due diligence searches and training to legal property professionals, protecting conveyancers and their clients with a comprehensive range of products and a proven dedication to quality customer service.

As an official provider of the CON29DW drainage and water enquiry, as well as being an NLIS channel license partner, we provide a wide range of land-based conveyancer and developer searches throughout England and Wales. Our reputation is built on the quality of our service and we pride ourselves on the excellent relationships we hold across the industry.

Our customers appreciate our professionalism and expertise, and we combine industry-leading technology with dedicated and enthusiastic people to deliver the best possible service. We believe passionately in putting our customers at the heart of everything that we do. With quick turnaround times, quality products and no hidden costs, our online service is just a click away.

So how can we benefit your business?

  • NLIS: We’re an NLIS channel partner offering you access to the National Land Information Service (NLIS) Hub, meaning we can deliver the fastest possible turnaround times on a range of searches, including those from Local Authorities.
  • Suppliers: Working closely with a range of market leading suppliers such as Argyll, Landmark, GroundSure and the Land Registry means we ensure you can access all the searches you need from one place, with many priced below RRP.
  • ISO 9001:2008: We recently retained the international quality management standard, so not only are we connecting you with all the right products, we also deliver them efficiently alongside a leading level of customer service.

A member of our team would be happy to discuss how we can assist you with your conveyancing search and training requirements.

Contact: Sue Stevens

Tel: 0800 009 4540

Email: [email protected]

Address
PO Box 3189
Slough
SL1 4WW

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