Keeping you safe – Fraud Prevention Guidance for Clients
You, and your money, are targets of fraud. Transactions between professionals and their clients are currently being actively targeted by fraudsters, due to the large sums processed by us on your behalf. This is particularly true of lawyers that conduct conveyancing transactions, debt recovery actions and estate administration (payment of beneficiaries) but can apply to any type of professional practice where client money may be held.
As you have instructed us to act for you, it is important that you understand:
- what we do to help ensure that you do not become a victim of fraud
- your responsibilities to reduce the risks of fraud.
Our commitment to you
We will ensure that we know you, our client
We undertake careful checks before taking on any piece of work, to ensure that you are who you say you are. For example, if you are selling a property, we will check that you do own the property to ensure that we do not transfer sale proceeds to a fraudster.
When we send you money, we will check to ensure that we transfer funds to your account
We will always ask for your bank account details, either in a face to face meeting, or by hard copy letter. If we receive account details by email we will speak to you on a telephone number you have provided to confirm them.
We will provide our bank details at the start of the work, and will not email you with changes
Our bank account details are provided in our terms of business. Please check that any request for a transfer of funds to us is to that account number and sort code. For any large payments (over £1000.00) please telephone us to confirm the account details before transferring funds. If you ever receive any change of account details, please verify this with us.
We will use secure methods of payment
For payments of more than £10,000 this means CHAPS rather than immediate faster payments which are fairly impossible to freeze if a fraud is later discovered.
We will take all reasonable steps to keep your data safe
We have strict policies and procedures in place to keep your data safe. We store your data on encrypted systems that are fully compliant with the current Data Protection Regulations.
We will keep our electronic systems secure and up to date
We have professional-grade anti-virus and anti-malware software and firewalls in place to help protect from ‘phishing’ and other cyber threats. We also have a policy of promptly installing relevant software updates and security patches on all work devices, including portable devices such as tablets and smart phones.
We will advise you of any known security breaches that may impact you
One of our advisers, staff or partners specifically allocated to your work will contact you to advise you of any known security breach that may have compromised your information security.
Your security obligations
You will provide us with best contact details
On or before the start of our work, we will ask for your contact details, and a preferred way of addressing you in communications. You should use the same email address, telephone number/s, mailing address where-ever possible, and anticipate further checks from us should you use other contact details in future.
You will communicate urgent instructions in person or by telephone
You should not rely on us receiving or reading your emails, particularly if you are providing time-critical instructions.
You will verify account details sent by email
We will not accept bank details via email alone. Wherever practicable we will obtain bank details from you in person or through confirmation of instructions by post. Any email notification of bank details will not be acted upon unless we have verified more details with you in person or by telephone call to your known telephone number. Please be understanding should we need to double-check anything that we think looks suspicious – this is for your benefit.
You will take all reasonable measures to keep your data and systems secure
You will keep your computer and relevant mobile devices updated with the latest operating system updates, security patches, and anti-virus software. For further information on protecting yourself from fraud and cybercrime, please visit https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/individual-protection.
You will inform us at the earliest opportunity if your email or devices become infected with a virus other malware, or you think you’ve been hacked, or your security otherwise compromised.