Client Identification and Money Laundering
All solicitors are required, as a matter of course, to adhere to the Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Transfer of Funds (Information on the Payer) Regulations 2017. As trusted legal advisors, we are obliged to ensure that we are not responsible for assisting criminal behaviour i.e. by laundering money obtained by illegitimate means.
Money laundering is the process by which the proceeds of crime and the true ownership of such proceeds are changed so that the proceeds appear to come from a legitimate source.
What this means for you
We must verify the legitimacy of any monies that are to be sent to our firm’s client account. In order for us to do so; it is your duty to provide to us a clear and concise explanation and documentary evidence as to how the funds you propose to use to fund your transaction have been acquired. It is not enough to simply evidence that you have sufficient funds available, the emphasis is upon the source.
Whilst this may appear intrusive, we are unable to proceed without the information we require. You should therefore arrange to collate all information you can in this regard as soon as possible after instructing us to act on your behalf. If you are having trouble ascertaining what you may need to provide, please speak to your appointed Ison Harrison contact who will be happy to talk you through the requirements.
Please note that any refusal to provide such information will significantly delay the transaction or may result in the transaction not proceeding at all. We are obliged to report any suspicious activity to the National Crime Agency and if such a report is made, we cannot continue working on your file and cannot disclose that such a report has been made. It is therefore in your best interest to be frank and open with respect to funds throughout the transaction and to provide what is asked of you without difficulty or delay.
Part of our duty under the above-mentioned Regulations requires us to verify the identity of all clients and persons entitled to receive a benefit from a particular transaction. As soon as possible after instructing Ison Harrison to act on your behalf, you should attend one of our offices with copies of your original identification documents being one document from each of the lists below:-
List A (to verify signature)
- A valid full UK Passport
- A valid UK Photo-card driving licence
- A valid HM Forces identity card with photograph
List B (to verify address – please ensure your current address is shown)
- A council tax bill less than 3 months old (Unfortunately we can’t accept ones dated over 3 months old)
- A council rent book showing the rent paid for the last three months
- A mortgage statement for the mortgage accounting year just ended
- A receipted utility bill (e.g., gas, electricity etc but not a mobile phone bill) less than 3 months old
- A bank statement less than 3 months old
Please note that we will not start work on your transaction until we receive the necessary identification documents from you.
You may be aware, from recent media reports, of the increasing number of fraudulent emails being sent by fraudsters attempting to divert bank payments to false destination bank accounts. This is particularly relevant for property transactions.
You should always treat any emails with great care when they relate to financial transactions, no matter how legitimate they may seem.
If you receive an email claiming to be from Ison Harrison advising of any change to our bank details and asking you to send money to a new destination, it will not be genuine.
Conveyancing transactions are a particular target for fraud, due to the high volumes of money being sent or received at any one time.
At Ison Harrison we take the risk of fraud extremely seriously and we follow a number of procedures to combat this threat.
How can I help avoid fraud?
- Treat transferring money as sending cash. It does not attract the same protection that credit card payments receive
- Never reveal personal or financial information to someone you don’t know
- Never click on hyperlinks in emails unless you trust where it came from
- Even if you trust where it came from, it still may not in fact come from a trustworthy source. Scam emails can look very convincing. Always question.
- Use strong passwords with numbers and special characters – NOT birthdays or pet names for example
- Use different passwords for different sites, especially online banking
- Using an old password? Change it
- Install anti-virus software and keep it up to date
- Don’t use sensitive websites such as on-line banking on computers you don’t trust
- Don’t download software from pop-up windows or advertisements