21 billion reasons to avoid email
Innovation and Tech

21 billion reasons to avoid email

By Aoife Garvan • Sep 2020

Australia’s $7 trillion residential market, the nation’s most valuable asset class, is currently battling a rise in the country’s number one cyber threat to property settlements – email phishing.

In FY20, business email compromise (BEC), a form of email phishing, increased by a concerning 127 per cent2 – a spike notably coinciding with the onset of COVID-19.

The average house price in Australia ranges from as high as $1.1 million in Sydney to $500k in Darwin. Understandably, the property industry is a lucrative target for scammers, and unsuspecting buyers and sellers are at risk of losing their life savings because of the dangers posed by a simple email.

This global issue is exactly why PEXA, in collaboration with industry, worked to develop a tailored solution to protect Australia’s homebuyers and sellers. Launched 12 months ago, the PEXA Key app is designed as a secure method for practitioners and homebuyers or sellers to share financial account details, mitigating the risks associated with email.

Jamie-Lee Carragher, Director of EzyStep Conveyancing, has been using PEXA Key since it was launched and said “Our clients put their faith in us, that we are going to protect them and do what’s in their best interests as conveyancing professionals. We’ve seen the impact of BEC; of funds being misdirected into a hackers account. Nobody wants this to happen to their clients. That’s why we use PEXA Key. It gives us, and our clients, the reassurance that their settlement, their life savings, are protected. Email is not enough anymore. We have to think outside of the box and provide our clients with the service they expect and deserve”.

Unlike email, PEXA Key uses encryption to safeguard the communication of account details. This ensures that confidential information, like bank and trust account details, cannot be intercepted by cyber criminals, keeping transactions safe from this type of fraud.

In addition, the app allows homebuyers and sellers to track their settlement, plan their move with easy-to-use checklists and read up on what to expect – helping smoothen and bring joy to the overall experience.

Since September 2019, more than 60,000 PEXA Key invitations have been sent to buyers and sellers by their practitioners. Thanks to these security conscious, customer-first professionals, the app has been used to protect the integrity of, and to track, settlements valued at a total of more than $21 billion since its launch.

With cyber-crime costing Australian businesses on average $29 billion each year and one in four Australian firms reported having come under a cyber-attack in 2018 and 2019, more firms nationwide are utilising PEXA Key to help safeguard Australian families and their properties.

“Many of our clients are first time homebuyers. That brings with it a level of nervousness as well as excitement”, said Michelle House, Licenced Conveyancer, Conveyancing Wodonga.

“We believe communication is the key to ensuring a smooth and enjoyable conveyancing transaction and PEXA Key has certainly added another dimension to our offering to clients. Our clients who have

used the app really enjoy watching their settlement progress. The added benefit of sharing account details securely has proven to be another great initiative”.

Using PEXA Key is the only guaranteed way to communicate account details for settlement securely.

In the unlikely event that the communication of bank account details between the buyer/seller and their practitioner’s PEXA Workspace is intercepted or corrupted due to fraud, the PEXA Key Secure Communication Guarantee provides protection to buyers and sellers when they use the app.

This means that PEXA covers any losses up to $2 million.

PEXA continues to innovate with industry to provide the best and safest property settlement experience. To learn more about PEXA Key, visit pexa.com.au/key.

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