In today's world, cyber fraud is increasingly affecting individuals and businesses. Cyber fraud is any criminal act dealing with computers or networks.
Cyber fraud is possibly the most common of all cybercrime offences. The internet allows offenders to hide their identities behind websites and email addresses, providing a forum in which they never have to meet a victim in person to commit their offence. Some offenders may also be a part of a wider criminal group and can be based anywhere in the world.
The scale and extent of cyber fraud is so large that anyone who uses computers to bank, shop or even communicate with friends could be a target. There are many different types of cyber fraud, which can affect both individuals and businesses:
Cyber fraud targeting individuals:
Electronic financial frauds such as online banking frauds and internet enabled card-not-present (CNP) fraud
Fraudulent sales through retail sites or through fake websites
Mass-marketing frauds and consumer scams, including phishing scams where they use fraudulent emails disguised as legitimate emails
Cyber fraud targeting businesses and solicitors:
Where fraudsters intercept emails between the solicitor and their client and 'arrange' for monies intended for a property transaction to be diverted to their account
Invoice Fraud - Where a fraudster sends a false invoice to a client ahead of the law firm sending their legitimate invoice
Chief Executive Fraud - This occurs when a fraudster poses as a Chief Executive or superior advisor in a company creating a stressful situation where the receiver of the message feels they need to respond to the request of transferring monies urgently without questioning the validity of the message
Friday afternoon Fraud - This occurs on the traditional day that conveyancing completions are taking place, where clients receive emails that appear to have come from their solicitor asking them to transfer their deposit to an alternative bank account. By taking place on a Friday, this also allows the fraudsters time over the weekend to move the money before anyone can realise and intervene.
Identity fraud - This occurs when someone other than the legal owner of the property poses as the legal owner and tries to sell the property without the owner's consent or knowledge.
Bringing a Cyber Fraud Claim
Business owners, insurers and solicitors are all understandably concerned about the threat of cyber fraud affecting their services, as they owe their clients a duty of care and will be held legally responsible for their client's losses.
To bring a Cyber Fraud Claim, the cause of action will be in negligence and breach of trust. A breach of trust occurs when there has been a violation of a duty or responsibility to another individual and this violation need not have been intentional or out of malice. In a solicitor and client relationship, a solicitor that fails to undertake reasonable steps to verify a seller's identity before completing a conveyancing transaction is likely to be found liable.
Similarly, a solicitor that fails to notice the signs of fraud before it occurs is also likely to be found liable. A successful claimant will receive damages.