Conveyancers seek delay the rollout of PEXA's new online property transfer platform after breaches

Conveyancers seek delay the rollout of PEXA's new online property transfer platform after breaches
Conveyancers seek delay the rollout of PEXA's new online property transfer platform after breaches

A Sydney couple in their 90s are the latest victim of conveyancing fraud.

The couple's $672,000 sales proceed were diverted into three different bank accounts by the fraudster as they capitalised on the flaws in the new world of e-conveyancing which seeks to avoid the perils of email phishing in the digital space. 

Digital platforms now allow property settlements to be completed electronically rather than with face to face paper documentation.

The fraud followed former MasterChef contestant Dani Venn and her husband Chris Burgess who were caught in a fraud involving $250,000 from the proceeds of their Melbourne home sale after a cyber criminal set up a false user account.

The e-conveyancer PEXA have since announced they will cover any lost funds for Dani and Chris and are introducing a new consumer guarantee for all transactions conducted on its platform.

It will also endeavour to provide greater safeguards to property buyers and sellers through the introduction of multi-factor verification.

The Sydney fraud involved the settlement last month of a $750,000 property sale where the proceeds were to go toward the vendor's nursing home needs.

Banks quickly froze the bulk of the funds, but not before the fraudsters transferred some to Thailand.

The scammers had the funds deposited into their accounts at ANZ, CBA and NAB after hacking the emails of the estate agent and conveyancers.

At this stage it is calculated the vendor will be $126,000 short after the banks get around to depositing the funds back to the vendor.

"We were frantically and immediately trying to find out where things went wrong," the victim's son advised.

"These funds are their life savings," he said.

It was found the hacker's email addresses embedded in the emails of both the estate agent and conveyancer.

It was reported to the police fraud department, but the vendor was told it was firstly a matter for the banks.

"We're assisting the conveyancers and lawyers who use our platform to uphold the highest possible security standards," James Ruddock, the acting PEXA CEO advised.

"We understand the importance of security to the industry as a whole, and as a result PEXA will be introducing a new consumer guarantee for transactions conducted on our platform."

"We know that buying and selling a home is an emotional time and understand the stress that can be felt when things don’t go to plan.

"We clearly regret the distress felt by those impacted," Ruddock said. 

"These are extremely isolated incidents," he added.

But nearly 600 conveyancers have signed a petition to delay the rollout of Australia's new online property transfer platform after the breaches.

The electronic platform is owned by state governments and Australia's big banks.  

Conveyancing Pexa

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