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Firms target of recent cyber-crimes

Firms target of recent cyber-crimes

By LIV Investigations


The LIV have been made aware of recent instances of cyber-crime, one where funds were transferred from a trust account into an incorrect bank account and the other where the client has transferred money from their account into what they thought was a law firm’s trust account, but in fact was not.

In both cases the hacker has accessed email accounts and emails which contain bank account details. The hacker was then able to generate a substitute email, with what appears to be a genuine email, posing as either the client or the law firm. The receiver of the substitute email believed that it was genuine and proceeded to transfer funds into the accounts nominated in the substitute email.

What can a law practice do to help avoid these issues:

  • For funds the law practice is going to transfer out of the trust account, it is wise to double check with the client the accuracy of the bank account details by phone and not just rely on the latest email; 
  • Advise the clients that there is a risk of emails being hacked and that the client take appropriate steps to confirm bank account details of law firm trust account and not solely rely on email notifications; 
  • Consider giving clients hard copy details of the trust account; 
  • Ensure that the law practice has the latest security software updates in its computer systems.

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