Jean-Yves Gilg

Editor, Solicitors Journal

Conveyancers vulnerable to fraud by failing to e-verify clients

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Conveyancers vulnerable to fraud by failing to e-verify clients

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Sole practitioners are leaving themselves exposed to risk of criminal activity

Only a third of conveyancers are carrying out electronic anti-money laundering (AML) checks for all transactions, according to new research.

SearchFlow's conveyancing sentiment survey has revealed that 38 per cent of conveyancers never carry out electronic identity checks to verify the identity of a customer.

In addition, only 29 per cent sometimes carry out electronic AML checks.

The survey also revealed a stark difference with identity check practices by company size.

Sole practitioners are leaving themselves more exposed to the risk of identity theft, as only 5 per cent carry out electronic checks for all transactions, the report found.

By contrast, half of larger firms, of 15 plus partners, carry out electronic checks for all transactions.

Commenting on the findings, Greg Bryce, the managing director of SearchFlow, said: 'Despite the growing risks, many conveyancers are still merely asking to see their clients with their documentation and do not make the necessary electronic checks to verify the identity of their client.

'Conveyancers are leaving themselves open to criminal activity that can seriously impact their careers and reputations.

'Money laundering schemes are continually adapting with more sophisticated means to scam the profession and it is a problem that is on the rise.

Bryce continued: 'It is startling that so many are still not carrying out electronic checks on identification and worrying that sole practitioners are leaving themselves particularly exposed to this area of risk.'