Law firms are being targeted by con-artists pretending to offer them refunds on subscriptions.
The Solicitors Regulation Authority last week urged practices to be aware of the latest ruse to get hold of their bank details.
The scams tend to involve people contacting firms to offers refunds for services they had registered with. The apparent provider claims to have suffered a systems failure and to have lost the firm’s information, before asking for bank details to refund the money in its account.
The Gazette understands there have been just a handful of reports of such scams so far, but this was enough for the SRA to highlight the risk of falling victim to this type of fraud.
‘The scammers sound authentic and use sophisticated methods to gain trust,’ said the SRA warning.
‘Once they have these details, they might be able to access either the firm or client account – or both. This could also lead to the compromising of confidential client information.
‘All employees should be alert to unexpected calls, and firms should have procedures in place to make sure they are not caught out. These procedures should be regularly reviewed.’
The SRA added that bogus firms continue to be a problem, with cases of fraudsters pretending to be fictitious firms or stealing the identity of existing firms, and trading on their reputation to gain the confidence of members of the public.
Concerns around law firms being targeted by fraudsters has increased in recent years.
Last year a professional indemnity insurer claimed three firms had lost £2.5m between them to phone scams, where an individual had called the firm’s cashier to confirm recent transactions and secured sensitive details.
The SRA has also made public warnings about the so-called ‘Friday afternoon scams’, which target firms when they are known to have access to large amounts of money but may have lowered their defences against data theft.