We are all familiar with searching our wallets to find the 100 points of identification to open a bank account or even just to sign a membership form. There never seems to be enough ID in your wallet despite being exactly who you say you are. Verifying your identity is even more extensive when consulting a solicitor regarding a property or conveyancing matter. Why is it so difficult to prove who you are?
The simple answer is that it is for your own benefit, even though it certainly doesn’t feel like it when you are searching for that elusive additional form of ID. Unfortunately, identity crimes are on the rise in Australia and cost us billions each year.
In Canberra in 2014 a residential property was sold without the South-African based owners’ knowledge; it was only discovered once she stopped receiving rental payments and contacted the real estate agent to find out why. The fraud was able to occur because the agent and the solicitor involved were contacted by email and provided with copies of identification electronically or by post by the fraudulent party impersonating the owner.
In 2016 new conveyancing rules were introduced in NSW in an effort to prevent this type of fraud from occurring. The rules require a face-to-face interview with a legal representative or appointed identity agent with production of at least 2 original forms of identification depending on the documents provided.
As you may be aware, conveyancing in NSW is now completed primarily through electronic workspaces linked directly to Land Registry Services and electronic Certificates of Title are issued in the majority of transactions. This makes face-to-face verification of identity with your legal representative an important way of preventing fraudulent property transactions from occurring keeping in mind that property is often one of the biggest investments we make.
If you have any questions regarding a property or conveyancing matter, WNB Legal have appointments available in Woolgoolga with our locally based solicitor, KC Hilton.