Last month The Law Society revealed that nearly a quarter of law firms have been targeted by scammers looking to steel client funds. The research comes from The Law Society’s PII survey, which also disclosed that fewer than 10% of the attempts resulted in fraudsters successfully obtaining the client’s money.
Whilst the majority of law firms have rigorous checks in place to ensure they are fully compliant and reducing any risk to their firm, scammers are becoming more inventive with the means by which they steal money, and there are increasing instances of hacked email accounts, cloned websites and letters and fake firms being set up.
These can obviously have extremely undesirable consequences for both the homebuyer and the firm; the homebuyer may lose a significant amount of money or, worse, no longer have a property to move into, and the solicitor will have their reputation tarnished, and be lumbered with more expensive PII premiums at the time of renewal if they need to make a claim.
Andrew Stenning, Managing Director, at Searches UK commented:
“The increased risk to property solicitors and conveyancers is extremely alarming and as a firm we will do as much as we can to help mitigate any risks to our clients. We can help reduce conveyancing fraud by providing Lawyer Checker Searches and we also offer AML ID Checks to verify your client’s ID. The Law Society also provide a wealth of information about reducing risk, such as ‘Protecting your firm if you fall victim to a scam’ which can be found on their website.”
Lawyer Checker’s Account & Entity Screen (AES) search, which can be ordered from Searches UK, allows solicitors and conveyancers to check the previous use of client accounts to which they are sending funds to better assess the risk associated with the transaction – enabling firms to combat the risk of vendor fraud.
There are two stages to an AES search, the first stage will review the account details to determine if there is a track record of successful use and the second stage will carry out further research on the firm associated with the account if a successful track record was not found in the first stage.
The report comes in a simple PDF document and will be returned within 1 working day. It is the only database with over 5 year’s historic footprint data of large conveyancing transactions and a free search update will be provided before completion to ensure the information provided to you is still correct.
The benefits of Lawyer Checker are simple: by carrying out this quick and inexpensive search you can protect your firm’s brand and reputation, reduce stress, easily identify any potential issues with a recipient account and ensure funds are being transferred to a legitimate conveyancer.
Searches UK are confident about the benefits of Lawyer Checker so throughout the month of May clients who have never ordered an AES search in the past can redeem up to 5 reports for free. Terms & conditions apply.
Alternatively, if you would like to gain a better understanding about fraud in the property industry register for Searches UK’s Conveyancing Risk: Fraud webinar taking place on Tuesday 24th May from 11am for 1 hour by visiting their website.
Searches UK is a client focused business that strives to deliver an exceptional service to the solicitors and licenced conveyancers who order through them. Their range of products includes both residential and commercial conveyancing searches such as local authority, drainage and water, environmental, energy and infrastructure, mining, planning and chancel checks.
For more information about any of the products and services from Searches UK visit their website and follow them on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Google+. Alternatively call them directly on 0800 043 1815 or email them at [email protected] to speak to one of their dedicated team today.
This article was submitted to be published by Searches UK 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.