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The Law Society of NSW and its partner insurer Lawcover are alerting lawyers about the growing risk of cyber fraud as legal practitioners increasingly shifted their businesses online during 2020, and especially in the lead up to Christmas.

Lawcover’s Practice Risk Manager Malcolm Heath has previously told LSJ that the number of cyber fraud attacks had surged this year amid the coronavirus pandemic. This week, the insurer reported that some of the most common scams were false emails targeting law practices with fraudulent requests to change client bank account details.

“In some cases, scam emails ask clients to change the law practice’s bank account details when transferring funds. Scammers have also altered bank account details in PDFs,” said a spokesperson for Lawcover.

“Recovering funds transferred to fraudulent accounts is extremely difficult. There is a greater risk in the run up to Christmas, when pressure is on to get things done quickly. Don’t get caught out!”

The insurer recommended three steps for lawyers to help prevent cyber fraud:

  1. Phone your client to check emailed bank account details are correct.
  2. Train your staff to ensure a consistent approach to preventing email fraud.
  3. Warn your clients not to rely on emailed bank account details, even if they seem to have been emailed by your practice.

The Law Society and Lawcover are also launching an awareness campaign with a checklist to assist legal businesses to guard against cyber fraud. The campaign includes pre-prepared information flyers that lawyers may send to clients, advising them of cyber security risks.

Click here to download a free checklist on how to prevent cyber fraud.

Click here to download a flyer which you can distribute to clients to help them reduce the risk of cyber fraud.

For more information and to download resources go to Lawcover’s website.