Smart Company, an online business publication, has highlighted the costly perils of cyber-attack in a recent article about an email scam that has caused $200,000 in losses to real estate agents and home buyers in Victoria.
Consumer Affairs Victoria has advised real estate agencies to ensure their cyber security is up to date, and home buyers to verify any payment instructions.
The email scam works by directly hacking the email accounts of real estate agents. Once the agent has sent through a contract of sale and trust account details to a buyer for the payment of their house deposit, the hacker then sends a second email advising the account details were ‘incorrect’.
This email includes details of a false account, which leads to the scammers siphoning the buyer’s funds by getting them to pay to the wrong bank account.
Real estate agencies are being encouraged to consider setting up two-step verification for email accounts and deleting spam messages without opening them.
Similar scams have resulted in big losses in other Australian states over the past year, with two property buyers in South Australia losing close to $1 million last October through an email scam. The scammers impersonated conveyancers and asked clients to deposit funds into the incorrect bank account.
In this ever-changing digital age, hackers seem to be one step ahead so it’s essential to protect yourself and your business against cyber fraud. For more information, give your local Phoenix Insurance broker a call today on 9367 7399.