Cyber crime involves criminal activity carried out by use of the internet, a computer system or computer technology.
You may have seen stories in the news about companies becoming victims of cyber crime as fraudsters become more and more sophisticated. Conveyancers, and the clients they act for, are often targeted due to the nature of the transactions and the fact that large amounts of money changes hands.
We take cyber security very seriously and we are committed to tackling cyber crime in any way we can in order to protect our clients to the best of our ability.
Without wishing to alarm you, it is important that we make you aware of the risks of cyber crime. This note details those risks along with details of protective steps we have taken.
As part of our commitment to protect our clients we have worked hard to gain certification from the Cyber Essentials scheme.
Cyber Essentials is a government-backed, industry supported scheme, which is designed to help organisations protect themselves against common cyber attacks.
In order to qualify for certification, Cyber Essentials has a list of strict criteria that we need to comply with on an ongoing basis.
Email is an important element of modern everyday life, which enables us to complete your conveyancing transactions in a speedy manner.
However, we know that emails can be intercepted and used illegally by fraudsters and, therefore, we have to take care to ensure that our email servers are as secure as possible.
Our computer systems include antivirus software and other safeguards, designed to identify and prevent any fraudulent interceptions. We are confident that our own email is not at risk. However, you should be aware that your email system is still at risk and it is recommended that you take your own preventative measures to protect any emails you send or receive. Please see below for some general tips for avoiding cyber crime.
What You Can Do
Below are a few basic tips, detailing general steps you can take to avoid becoming a victim of cyber crime. Please note that this list is not exhaustive and you may wish to seek specialist advice in order to ensure you are fully protected.
- Make sure your computer has at least a standard firewall and regularly updated antivirus protection
- If you receive strange or unknown emails in your inbox, don’t open them – just delete them
- Set up a block or filter for any junk/spam mail in your email account
- Have different passwords for each site you visit
- Change your passwords regularly and never give your password or other login details to anyone else
- Make sure you only use trusted providers with secure websites when you shop online
- Put an adult block on your computer that blocks unsavoury or illegal websites that might host malware or spyware
- Keep an eye on your children’s use of the internet, including who they are talking to in chat rooms and online
- Avoid using public Wi-Fi systems.
- Avoid sharing social media posts about buying or selling
Our Bank Account Details
If we ask you to send us money in connection with your transaction it is often easiest for you to arrange a bank to bank transfer.
Please note we do not expect to change our bank details during the course of your transaction.
For your cyber safety, if you receive any correspondence advising you of a change in bank details, please contact us immediately. We cannot accept responsibility if you send money to an incorrect account.
If you have any concerns as to the validity of the bank details provided to you, please check the details by telephoning the caseworker who is dealing with your matter or a member of our Accounts or Client Services teams. If an email has been hacked, any telephone numbers in the email might also have been changed, so we recommend that you also verify any telephone number you use before calling – the best place to verify our telephone number is using the “Find a Solicitor” service on the Law Society website.
Your Bank Account Details
As part of the questionnaire that is enclosed with your starter pack, we will have requested you to confirm your bank details.
We will carry out a verification of the bank details provided (as part of our electronic ID verification) before storing them securely on our case management system. Any future electronic payments made to you (usually in the case of a sale or remortgage) will then be made to this account. This process enables us to carry out additional identification checks, which again enforces our anti-cybercrime procedures, but also enables us to ensure that we are making payments to your correct bank account.
In some cases, other parties (such as your mortgage lender) may have additional steps that need to be followed as part of their own requirements to tackle cyber crime. Should any additional requirements arise, we shall advise you of the details.
If you have any queries or concerns in relation to any of the information provided in this note, please contact the caseworker who is dealing with your transaction.