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Fraud risks in land titles

Media Release

13 November 2002

Greater use of electronic methods will make the registration of land titles more vulnerable to fraud. This could pose challenges for the multi-billion dollar industry, but with appropriate thoughtful measures, it will, most likely, make the registration of land titles more secure.

Addressing the 30th Australasian Registrars' Conference in Canberra today, the Director of the Australian Institute of Criminology, Dr Adam Graycar, outlined a range of risks. He said "It is always important to remember that crime follows opportunity, and opportunities for fraud flow from economic activity. Relating this to electronic service deliveries by Land Registries, the past focussed on sophisticated paper-based systems. However, as we move into online registration of titles and electronic transactions, new opportunities arise for people within organisations as well as for external customers to misrepresent themselves and to manipulate electronic transactions for financial gain. Confronting burgeoning identity fraud is a key challenge for us all."

The Land Titles system is a multi-billion dollar system and moving to electronic conveyancing will provide opportunities for strong and constructive partnerships of all players, and opportunities for banks and other financial institutions to work very closely with the Registry authorities to develop exceptionally secure systems.

One of the greatest dangers comes from poor internal controls - and this applies to all businesses. "For example," said Dr Graycar, "if internal staff use other people's passwords to enter networks to which they do not have authorisation, this may create enormous opportunities for fraud to occur."

The prevention processes outlined by Dr Graycar involves:

  • Effective Corporate Governance
  • Fraud Control Points
  • Personnel Monitoring
  • Computer Usage Monitoring

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