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Combating the cybercrime ‘crisis’ plaguing the property market

16 September 2019 Emma Ryan
Marcus Price

A new app is set to save Australia’s property market millions by helping to battle what’s being described as an email phishing crisis affecting the industry.

Online property exchange network PEXA has rolled out its latest app — PEXA Key — which looks to provide “a safe channel for home sellers to provide bank details to their property lawyer or conveyancer in completing their property settlement”.

The app works to protect people from cybercrime, particularly email phishing schemes, by providing users with a secure communication channel for sharing bank details, guaranteed.

Once sellers enter their bank details into PEXA Key, they are communicated into their practitioner’s digital PEXA Workspace, removing the risk of email interception and the need to re-key bank account information. The app also enables the buyer’s practitioner to provide their firm’s trust account details securely to the buyer to ensure the safe transfer of deposit and settlement funds, a statement from the network explained.

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PEXA CEO Marcus Price said the app comes at a crucial time, with cyber criminals targeting the property industry at full force.

“Security is paramount for our members and to us,” Mr Price said.

“It would be remiss of us to not try and help solve an issue which is becoming more and more prevalent in our industry. To be able to offer this technology to property lawyers, conveyancers and their customers and deliver a much a safer means of exchanging bank details is something we’re incredibly proud of.”

The launch of the new app follows a recent cyber security review, led by the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, which found that cybercrime is costing the Australian economy up to $1 billion annually in direct costs alone. In addition, the ACCC reported that last year Australian businesses lost over $60 million to email scams.

“Payment scams have exposed great risk in sending bank account details and payment directions for electronic funds transfers by email,” Justin Toohey, CEO of Legal Practitioners’ Liability Committee, said.

“We have seen a sharp increase in claims against legal practitioners where email communications in relation to settlement funds have been intercepted and altered by fraudsters, leading to the loss of client funds.

“LPLC strongly supports industry initiatives with tools such as PEXA Key for more secure communication of bank details for electronic property transactions and urges all practitioners to consider using them to guard against email fraud.”

Combating the cybercrime ‘crisis’ plaguing the property market
Marcus Price reb
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