Licensed conveyancers have until Wednesday 1 November to implement mandatory anti-fraud measures, says their regulator the Council for Licensed Conveyancers (CLC).
The CLC’s mandatory secure badge scheme, which was introduced in January this year, significantly reduces the risk of impersonation online through cloned or copied websites. It also helps to identify fraudsters setting up fake firms claiming to be regulated by the CLC.
The CLC is the first regulator to set up such a scheme and the Legal Services Board is now urging others to follow in their footsteps, and introduce similar measures.
In recent years conveyancers have become the subject of fraudulent schemes which have left homebuyers at risk and out of pocket. Given the sums involved in conveyancing transactions, consumers can be hit particularly hard by this type of fraud. The number of deposit redirection frauds in March 2016 was more than triple those in March 2015, according to statistics from the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau, and this number is continuing to rise.
Stephen Ward, Director of Strategy, CLC says that nearly two-thirds of licensed conveyancers have already installed the secure badge on their websites: “We have been extremely pleased to see that the majority of our firms have taken action to install the badge. To those who are yet to do so, we would urge them to do this as soon as possible to ensure they remain compliant.
“The scheme has been very well received by consumers, providing them with confidence that the website they are visiting is secure and is regulated by the CLC.”
Simon Law, Director of DC Law who installed the badge earlier this year, said: “We have been very impressed with the CLC’s secure badge initiative. It’s easy for the other side to check that they are dealing with a genuine firm, it was easy to install and I believe that the introduction of the badge also provides reassurance to any client that they are dealing with a genuine firm.”
The badge is easily installed through a unique piece of code provided by the CLC and which makes it impossible for fraudsters to copy. Consumers can also click on the badge to see information about the regulated firm on the CLC’s website.
Firms should contact Stephen Ward (firstname.lastname@example.org) to register for a secure badge by 1 November.