Conveyancing Hack - MasterChef finalist disaster offers lessons to Lawyers and Conveyancers

Former MasterChef finalist Dani Venn had $250,000.00 stolen from her settlement, resulting in her being unable to settle her dream home. She is now in a precarious position of being homeless and struggling to front up the remaining money to settle.

What Happened?

Ms. Venn's conveyancer, Sargeants Knox Conveyancing had their email account hacked.  The Vendor and Purchaser’s conveyancers were using the online settlement platform called PEXA to settle the transaction and the fraudsters were able to create a new PEXA account by pretending to be Sergeants Knox. The hackers were able to re-direct funds that should have been paid to the Vendor to their own bank account. The Commonwealth Bank is currently investigating.

Mr. Ruddock, acting chief executive of PEXA has reassured the community that it was the subject conveyancers’ emails that were hacked and not the PEXA platform.

Lessons Learned

This tragedy reinforces the importance of having robust cyber security protections (including staff education, policies and procedures) in place for conveyancing and law firms.

Burke & Associates Lawyers take cyber security very seriously. We have a number of cyber security protections in place to ensure that our accounts are protected from cyber-attack.

We have provided extensive in-house training to staff and have implemented a number of firm-wide policies to protect our client’s important information and the accounts that we hold with third parties like PEXA.

If you would like to discuss our policies for protecting your data from external threats, please contact us for more information.