Watch out for this growing scam in the legal sector!
December 22, 2021

Fraudsters are unfortunately a constant threat to us all in our daily lives. Law firms and their clients are a prime target for this kind of criminal. This is easy to understand when you think of the large amounts of money that are regularly passing in and out of a law firm’s bank account.

While multiple scams target legal firms, one is becoming more and more widespread. But how does it work?

Growing Legal Sector Scam For Transferring Funds

The fastest-growing legal sector scam crops up when a client is poised to move funds from their account to their solicitor’s. This could be for transferring funds to cover a property completion, for example.

At this point, scammers will send a fake email message to the client BEFORE they move the funds. This fake email will look genuine at first glance, but actually contains the fraudster’s bank account details instead of the bank account details of the legal firm. Naturally, the scammers hope to dupe the client into transferring the money into the fraudulent bank account, at which point they will scarper with it.

How Do Scammers Con People Into Believing This Trick?

As noted above, the fake message will look genuine enough and may even contain correct logos, amounts, project details and staff names. In addition, the fraudsters sometimes include a genuine email chain in their fake message. This helps to con people into thinking it is real.

Some fraudsters also state they will follow up with a phone call to the client at a certain time. Although this call does happen, the criminals will spoof the legal firm’s phone number to make it look legitimate. Of course, the con artist who calls also puts on a good act of being a genuine member of staff. When you combine what seems a genuine email with what seems a trustworthy phone call, it is clear why people fall for it.

How Can Law Firms Protect Themselves And Their Clients?

It is key for law firms to protect themselves and their clients against this scam. The points below show a few effective ways to do this:

– Recognise that emails are not 100% secure. Don’t let an email address that looks legitimate or wording that is familiar lure you into false assumptions.

– Remember that recent details in an email chain may be fake, even if you have confirmed parts of the same chain previously.

– Always call a number you know is correct for the person receiving payment to independently verify requests for changes to contact or account details.

– Don’t assume that the phone number shown on your mobile for incoming calls is always genuine.

– Law firms are required carry out staff training on how to spot and prevent scams.  Making clients aware is a sign of good practice.

– Clients will receive a care letter on how the firm will/will not instruct them with sensitive information.

Bowsers – A Solicitor You Can Trust In Cambridgeshire

Here at Bowsers, we take the threat of scams to us and our clients extremely seriously. We have put every possible measure in place to not only keep ourselves safe from fraudsters but also the people we help too. If you need any legal services in the Cambridgeshire area, get in touch by clicking here.

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