Conveyancers Bulletin - Protect Your Firm From Fraud Liability

Published on 05/05/2016

This bulletin is designed to help firms understand how they can discharge their duty of care covering buyer deposit redirection fraud, quickly, easily and without cost, even if clients decide not to use Safe Buyer from the Safe Buyer Scheme.

The Problem

Buyer deposit redirection fraud is one of the biggest threats facing conveyancing firms today as illustrated by Elite Insurance, who have withdrawn from the conveyancing PII market, citing client account fraud as the key reason.

The Solution

Firms can now use the Safe Buyer Scheme to discharge the firm’s duty of care. When a client views their transaction in the Safe Buyer Scheme, they will now see an advice statement which clearly sets out the risk of buyer deposit redirection fraud and advises them to use Safe Buyer to protect them from this threat. We have introduced a new indicator on all Safe Buyer Scheme transactions to show the conveyancer whether their client has accepted or declined their advice. Every client decision is recorded on the Safe Buyer Scheme for firms’ future reference if they need evidence at a later date.

How to Protect Your Firm

Step 1 – Setup transaction (less than 60 secs)

Step 2 – Check ‘Duty of Care’ indicator before the exchange of contracts to ensure duty of care has been discharged

The ‘Duty of Care’ indicator is displayed in your transactions grid within the ‘Duty of Care’ column. A flag will highlight any transactions where the client(s) have not yet accepted or declined the conveyancer’s advice to purchase Safe Buyer and use the Check Bank Account feature, to protect them from buyer deposit redirection fraud.

Existing transactions will also contain this flag until these clients accept the latest advice which is now shown when they log in and view their transaction.

How the Safe Buyer Scheme Benefits Your Firm

The Professional Indemnity (PII) division of Howden Insurance Brokers has recently announced they are working with BE Consultancy, providers of the Safe Buyer Scheme. The partnership is designed to raise awareness of the importance of the effective use of risk management tools and their impact on PI insurance, across the residential conveyancing sector.

Howden provide PI broking and risk management services to over 1,000 legal services firms. They are the recommended insurance broker to The Society of Licensed Conveyancers and a partner to the Conveyancing Association. The Safe Buyer Scheme reduces fraud risk in property transactions through the proactive detection of unauthorised parties. It provides extra security to members of the public whilst allowing the conveyancer to discharge their duty of care to protect their clients from fraud.

Paul Crilly, Account Director at Howdens Insurance Brokers said:

“The Safe Buyer Scheme has a proven track in record preventing conveyancing fraud and is an invaluable tool to protect conveyancers from reputational damage. We are seeing fraudsters manoeuvring to render other forms of risk management ineffective so I would encourage firms to use the Safe Buyer Scheme as a robust defence against buyer deposit redirection fraud and property hijack”.

Protecting Your Clients

After a 6 month period where property buyers could use Safe Buyer for free, the Free Trial for the Safe Buyer Scheme has now expired. Safe Buyer costs buyers just £10 + VAT and offer clients the following benefits:

- Independent checking of the firm’s bank account details on our secure portal to ensure the buyer has the right bank account

- Secure document transfer to keep sensitive information safe

If you would like any further information for firms using the Safe Buyer Scheme please contact Victoria on 020 3598 0141.

The Safe Buyer Scheme