Safer Internet Day: Protecting You and Your Property Online

Mon 5th Feb 2024

For Safer Internet Day 2024, our Residential Property team explains how to ensure you and your property’s safety online.

Safer Internet Day takes place annually to raise awareness of a safer and better internet for all. Particularly, with a focus on making it safe for more vulnerable users such as children and young people.

Safer Internet Day 2024 will take place on the 6th of February this year. Celebrations and learning will be based around the theme: ‘Inspiring change? Making a difference, managing influence and navigating change online’.

While this year’s focus is on young people, parents, carers, and businesses also have a big part to play. They can help to inspire a UK wide conversation about using technology responsibly, respectfully, critically, and creatively.

We are marking Safer Internet Day by sharing our top tips on how to best conduct property matters online, from making digital conveyancing cost transactions safely and protecting your land and property from fraud.

So, how can you ensure you and your property are safe online? Sarah Cowley, Head of Coodes Residential Property Team explains…

Why does internet safety matter for transferring your conveyancing costs?

A licensed conveyancer is responsible for transferring funds for the purchase or sale of a property. Clients undertaking a conveyancing transaction are prime targets for criminals looking to trick you out of your money. That’s why we have chosen to focus on such criminal activity for this year’s Safer Internet Day.

There have been a number of high-profile cases reported in the UK where clients have unwittingly paid funds to the fraudster. They operate by tricking buyers and sellers into paying their conveyancing costs directly into their holding account. By intercepting emails or cloning an email address, they can watch transaction progress and provide false bank details at the appropriate moment.

Please note: The Residential Team at Coodes are extremely reluctant to provide Bank details within an email and will have usually post a copy of the details to your correspondence address at the outset of the transaction. If you receive such an email, you should ensure that you immediately telephone our team before making any payment.

How can you protect your land and property from fraud?

Protecting your land and property from fraud has become increasingly important in the digital world. Property registered at HM Land Registry is retained in a digital format along with the original title deeds. Since 2002, the original title deeds have not been produced on paper and are entirely digital.

This means you are more at risk if:

  • Your identity has been stolen
  • You do not live in your property yourself
  • The property is empty, unmortgaged or not registered at the Land Registry

You should ensure the address you have registered at the Land Registry is kept up to date at all times. Also, you should consider providing the Land Registry with your email address, so communication is more efficient.

To protect your property from being fraudulently sold or mortgaged, there are steps you can take to protect yourself. Firstly, track changes to the register or put a restriction on your title if you think you are at risk. You can also sign up to get property alerts if someone applies to change the register of your property. For example, if someone tries to use your property for a mortgage. This won’t automatically block any changes; however, it will alert you when something changes so you can take action. You can get alerts for up to ten properties – and the service is free.

Another step you can take is to put a restriction on your title. You can stop HM Land Registry registering a sale or mortgage on your property unless a licensed conveyancer or solicitor certifies the application was made by you. If you are interested in these services, or your title remains unregistered, the Residential Property team will be happy to assist.

How do I keep myself safe online?

Keep yourself safe online by implementing these top tips this Safer Internet Day:

  • Get the latest anti-virus and firewall software to make sure you’re protected against any new online threats.
  • Update your internet browser – the latest versions have built-in protection against fake websites and viruses.
  • Create a strong and easy-to-remember password.
  • Use a different password to the one you use for other services.
  • Change your password on a regular basis – it’s a good idea to change your password every month.
  • Never share your password – official companies, banks and other similar institution will never ask you to divulge this such Information.
  • Don’t let your browser remember your log on details – it’s much safer to re-enter your details every time you log on, even if it takes slightly longer.
  • Look after your paper statement as fraudsters can use information on paper statements to steal someone’s identity. You should always destroy your paper statements before throwing them away.
  • Learn to spot fake emails and websites. Criminals use them to con people into giving away passwords and bank details. Remember never click on a link if you are not expecting the communication!

Safer Internet Day

At Coodes, we take internet security very seriously—365 days a year. We take steps to ensure that our data and that of our clients is kept safe and secure. We’re proud to have secured a Cyber Essentials accreditation and we’re also assessed annually as part of the Cyber Essentials Plus accreditation. This demonstrates our commitment to having controls in place to mitigate the firm’s risk to cyber threats and attacks.

If you would like to discuss how to safely conduct conveyancing cost transactions or need some friendly advice about protecting you and your property from fraud call our Residential Property team on 08000 328 3282 or fill out our online form.

Mon 5th Feb 2024

Sarah Cowley

Head of Residential Property

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