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The growing threat of cyber crime in the Australian property industry

By Lee Bailie
17 October 2023 | 11 minute read
Lee Bailie WEB

The real estate sector plays a vital role in the Australian economy, however with this prominence comes the heightened risk of cyber crime.

In recent years, cyber criminals have increasingly targeted the property industry due to the transfer of large deposit funds. Lee Bailie, InfoTrack’s head of property Australia, is passionate about raising awareness of cyber crime in the industry and empowering real estate agents with effective measures to safeguard themselves and their clients. As a Cyber Security Connect Australian Cyber Security Awards finalist for Executive of the Year, Mr Bailie’s goal is to ensure that InfoTrack offers innovative and market-leading technology solutions for all stakeholders in property transactions.

Cyber crime trends and challenges

Real estate agents handle a substantial amount of money on behalf of their clients, which has led to the industry becoming a key target for cyber criminals. Hackers are becoming increasingly sophisticated in their tactics, particularly in phishing sensitive information and intercepting real estate agents’ emails. These malicious activities grant hackers the ability to manipulate account details for deposit funds and redirect them into fraudulent bank accounts. A recent notable case involved a Western Australian real estate agent who fell victim to a phone scam, resulting in a staggering loss of nearly $330,000.

Mr Bailie explains: “Concerningly, situations like this are becoming more frequent in the property industry. To provide perspective, you can expect a deposit for a $1 million property to be around $100,000. This is a substantial loss of hard-earned savings for purchasers and unquantifiable damage to a real estate agent’s reputation. With the lengths cyber criminals are going to, it’s critical for professionals in the industry to put preventative measures in place.”

Securexchange: innovative technology for secure property transactions

In a rapidly digitising world, property transactions have evolved from a manual process to streamlined online interactions. Real estate agents now have at their disposal a user-friendly and flexible technology option that provides premium protection from cyber crime at all times. Securexchange, powered by InfoTrack, is an innovative and award-winning platform that supports secure property transactions. The platform connects real estate agents with lawyers and conveyancers, vendors, and purchasers in a secure workspace where you can safely share confidential information, trust fund details, and sign and exchange contracts.

Mr Bailie elaborates: “Securexchange is the only space of its kind and it has been a game-changer for those operating in the property industry. It became evident that traditional property transactions were no longer safe due to the risk of fraudulent activity, so there was a need in the market for a more secure way to complete a sale.

Securexchange provides security from external threats and is valuable in preventing the risk of email fraud and stolen funds, which ultimately provides peace of mind to agents and their clients throughout a property sale.”

In addition to its cyber security component, Securexchange has several other benefits:

  • Convenience: Making the sales transaction a more seamless experience, real estate agents using the platform can create individual workspaces for each property, request a Contract of Sale from a lawyer or conveyancer, invite accepted property purchasers into the workspace, share trust account details and exchange a Contract of Sale.

    In addition, real estate agents in NSW can use Securexchange earlier in the sales process by inviting interested buyers into the space to share a Contract of Sale as soon as a property is listed. Potential buyers can then share the contract with their legal representative through the platform. Property offers can also be made in the platform and agents have full visibility of this to assess the best offer and share with a vendor.

  • Efficiency: The innovative platform has streamlined the process of selling a property and has optimised the way professionals the in the industry operate. Sales can now be completed quicker and more efficiently than ever before.

  • Collaboration: All stakeholders involved in a property transaction connect in one workspace, supporting collaboration and transparency. This is a significant contrast to traditional processes. Stakeholders can track the progress of a sale and receive notifications when an update is made.

Experience the difference with Securexchange

On average, 11,000 property transactions are completed in Securexchange per month. To ensure the platform is secure, all users must be invited into the workspace and are verified through multifactor authentication. Deposit funds are also protected for up to $1 million when trust or bank details are securely shared within the platform.

In addition to its robust cyber security features, Securexchange’s user-friendly platform and collaborative capabilities make it a game-changer for the property industry. Adrian Simpson, principal of First National Real Estate Coastwide said: “The feedback I’ve received from clients is that Securexchange makes the property sale process easy and they can complete documents from anywhere at any time, offering greater flexibility and speed.”

Stay ahead of the curve and ensure the safety of your clients' investments. Discover how Securexchange can benefit your agency by booking a complimentary demonstration.

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