CyberCrime has always posed a risk to law firms particularly in the Real Estate world given the transactional nature of the business. However, in recent years CyberCrime attacks are becoming more common as well as more sophisticated. Under the guidance and recommendations provided by the SRA, law firms, including Ashworths are obliged to ensure that preventative steps are in place to ensure your data is kept safe. Whilst we continue to take update our policies and practices to ensure they are as efficient as possible, below are a few steps you can take to assist with keeping yourself protected against CyberCrime.
- When arranging to send funds, telephone your case handler to verify the bank details you have received. Bank details can be provided in a variety of formats and it is unlikely that our client account details will ever change. In the event that you receive correspondence asking for funds to be sent to an alternative account do not send funds without first speaking with your case handler.
- Notify us before you send funds. It is much easier to track money when we are aware of the sums being sent. It also means in the event funds are not received we are able to raise the alarm early on which increases the chance of your funds being recovered.
- If in doubt, send a nominal sum such as £1.00 to test the validity of the bank details.
- Ideally, we like to meet all our new clients face to face and this in part is because it reduces the risk associated with sending documents containing personal date via email. We understand however, that this is not always possible and in such situations we would suggest that any personal data is provided either via the post or encrypted electronic mail.
- When corresponding with your fee earner via email, check the sender’s email address each time. Often, fake emails are set up to mimic real law firms and solicitors therefore, at a quick glance, it may be difficult to spot that the communication is in fact from a fraudster.
- Try and avoid using public or non-secure WiFi for communications with Ashworths and or your case handler.
- Stay vigilant – be aware of any unusual requests you receive from your fee earner or correspondence confirming a change of details. If in doubt check the Law Society website using the ‘find a solicitor’ search and cross reference this information with the firm’s company website.
If in doubt do not proceed with sending personal data or funds and instead notify Ashworths of your suspicions as soon as possible.