Hackers have targeted a Broome real estate agency’s online banking system to steal $50,000.
The fraudsters might have gained access to the computer system after a bugged email apparently allowed malicious software to be installed, Consumer Protection said.
Bank account details of one of the agency’s clients were changed on a pre-entered list of recipients who receive regular payments.
Three payments from the agency’s trust account were re-directed away from the intended bank account in February and then the details were changed back in an attempt to avoid detection.
Consumer Protection said it followed a similar case in March last year when a Perth settlement agency had $50,000 in two BPay transactions taken from its trust account.
Commissioner Anne Driscoll warned real estate and settlement agents to have strict security protocols in place to avoid falling victim to such cases of fraud.
“Staff should be trained to ensure that suspicious emails are deleted immediately, attachments are never opened and links never activated,” she said.
“Having up-to-date anti-virus and anti-malware software is essential for any business.
“In light of these attempted frauds, it is our advice that real estate and settlement agents manually input bank account details of clients when making electronic bank payments, rather than relying on the accuracy of details in pre-entered lists.”