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Beware the fraudsters – Part 2

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In short, these are telephone scams. The fraudsters have planned well and use pressure techniques on the phone to make sure they get what they want. They also use advanced techniques such as manipulating the number that appears on the display on your phone together with the information they’ve already gleaned from reviewing staff’s social media.

The fraudsters will likely pose as bank security teams, explaining that the issue they’re discussing is time sensitive and that there’ll be some sort of penalty or loss for not complying with their instructions. They will persuade the finance team that clients’ money is at risk. They then instruct them to transfer the money to a ‘safe account’ otherwise the funds will be lost.

Back in 2015, a solicitor was tricked into transferring £750,000 of client money to criminals. In this case, the solicitor received a call from someone pretending to be from her bank saying that one of her client accounts had been compromised. The fraudster told the solicitor to call the helpline number on the back of the account’s debit card immediately. However, when the solicitor called the number, she was connected straight back to the fraudsters, as there’s a delay in landline phones clearing a previous call.

The fraudsters then convinced the solicitor that funds were at risk and that the bank would call back the following day to transfer the client money to a ‘safe’ account. The call came the next day and the transfers were made. Most of the money subsequently disappeared and in this example, only £220,000 was retrieved.

Train your teams

Make sure your accounts teams are trained to be cautious of the calls they receive. There’s no harm in running a test to see how they react and to make sure they’re aware of how to protect client money.

At  Larking Gowen, we offer a great tool to help you review your risk and offer protection advice. To help our legal practices,  Larking Gowen can offer clients a 20% discount on Rizikon, a cyber-risk analysis tool. This looks at your overall cyber-risk ‘score’ and suggests improvements and priorities to enhance your systems. More information can be found here.

You can also complete our quick check here; 10 questions to help you and your legal practice on its way to cyber safety.

If you’re interested in a systems review, please contact our Legal team on 0330 024 0888 or at

Martin Bugg


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Larking Gowen

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