Cyber Attack makes UK home buyers lose thousands

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Ireland-based Real Estate & Legal firms are facing a new kind of business threat these days which is making them loose thousands to online fraudsters. As per the details available to our sources, the Law Society has confirmed that a number of Irish based Legal Firms have gone through high-tech assault in past one year which resulted in a huge financial loss.

Known as a ‘Friday Afternoon Fraud’ the hackers hit their potential victims in the following way- First they intercept email correspondence happening between home buyers or sellers, and their solicitors.

Then after analyzing the info from the emails, the hackers pose as the solicitor involved during the final stages of the property deal. They inform the buyers that the seller’s bank details have changed for reasons and so the amount meant to lock the deal has to be transferred to a different account- which happens to be that of the fraudster/s. Then after, they take control of the funds and vanish without a trace.

The hack can be of different forms and the email of the solicitor is generally obtained through a hack or impersonation. Or else the email and other critical details are gained through a telephone fraud.

Here, our readers should notify that the amount of money entangled can be substantial, equaling a down payment on a property, or perhaps the proceeds of a sale.

And what’s more amusing and which has given the name to the fraud is that the activity takes place on a Friday Afternoon as the client account is filled with large amounts of cash.

The UK Legal sector has tagged this particular crime as the number one real estate scam in the whole of Europe. And added that scamsters are mainly targeting Irish Real Estate & Legal Firms.

In a recent survey conducted by the law society, 50 percent increase was witnessed by Irish firms in the past year. The survey also discovered that our of every 10 firms, three firms were victims of the above said cyber fraud in the past 12 months.

Rory O’ Neill, working as an investigating accountant with the society said that digital technology integration with the legal and real estate firms has increased the risk of cyber attacks on a significant note. Neill added that most of the external emails between the solicitors and their clients have been hacked and analyzed by criminals.

In order to isolate solicitors from such scams, the society has now started a separate cybersecurity section on their web portal. This website is aimed to advise members on how to protect themselves from Cyber Attack threats.

Let’s hope, the move really helps…..!

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Naveen Goud
Naveen Goud is a writer at Cybersecurity Insiders covering topics such as Mergers & Acquisitions, Startups, Cyber Attacks, Cloud Security and Mobile Security

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