With cyber fraud one of the largest growing areas of criminal activity in the world, international and domestic cyber criminals view businesses in the United Kingdom as some of the most attractive targets due to our internet economy being one of the strongest in the world.
With the growing online marketplace thriving with both criminal groups and lone attackers, it is becoming increasingly common for both professional services and their clients to be an attractive target for online scammers.
The aim of online scammers and 'hactivists' is to profit from the reputation and trust a law firm and client have for each other, intercepting correspondence or claiming to be a member of staff or department.
We have produced the below information to help you understand how to identify fraudulent emails and what to do if you do receive such an email.
What to look out for
There are many different types of online scams however the most common are those emails that are sent with the scammer acting as your lawyer, with the aim of collecting money from you with regards to your current matter. They could also pose as us asking for money owed once your matter has been closed.
If you were to respond to the email, the scammers could ask you for a fee to be paid in respect of your case with us. The amount they ask for could be relatively small, however could run into thousands of pounds.
It is only when you as the client chase your matter with your lawyer, does the realisation that you were a victim of a scam set in.
Does the email look any different?
Scammers can be very advanced in how the email looks visually and how similar it can be to genuine emails from us. Below are the key points to look out for:
1. Look closely at the complete email address and ensure it matches the one provided by your lawyer. Emails are sent from web based email addresses and as such, will not appear to have the same set up as a genuine Fosters email. All emails from Fosters end in @fosters-solicitors.co.uk.
2. There could often be spelling errors in the email address, incorrect capitalisation or numbers instead of letters.
3. The way the email is written could appear very cold and demanding. At Fosters we pride ourselves on our personal touch and customer service and if this feels any different, please call us to confirm.
4. Our automatic footer appears on all emails we send out, this also details the risk of cyber crime and as such, it is important to ensure the footer on all emails from us remain consistent and correct.
As a law firm in the United Kingdom, we are authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) and as such we do not engage in unsolicited emails.
Information on common types of online scams and further useful information can be found on the SRA website (http://www.sra.org.uk/consumers/problems/fraud-dishonesty/scams.page).
What to do if you receive a fraudulent email
It is vital that you bring this to our attention immediately by contacting your assigned lawyer by telephone call or by communicating with our client care team on 01603 723703.
You can also contact ActionFraud (http://www.actionfraud.police.uk), the national fraud and cyber crime reporting centre who provide a central point of contact and sit alongside the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB).