Too Busy? Don’t fall victim to email modification fraud

Too Busy? Don’t fall victim to email modification fraud

We were recently at the SRA’s ‘Protecting your firm, protecting your clients’ event in Cardiff. The audience were told of a recent conveyancing case in which the SRA took action.

A firm was emailed through a last-minute change of bank account details, on the day of completion. The property was being purchased in a sleepy village in central England. The bank account details were changed to a fraudster’s bank account in South Korea. At the event, there were lots of heads shaking and mutterings of “we would never fall for that”.

Think about it for a moment, while you may not have fallen for this specific example of email modification fraud, are you sure you aren’t leaving your firm open to similar but more convincing scams?

Think of those times when you are extremely busy or have a pressing time-dependent action to complete (like on the day of completion). Are you certain you have enough robust processes in place to minimise the likelihood of being the victim of such a scam?

Particularly at a time like Easter, when you are rushing to complete transactions, you are a target for email modification fraudsters. Should they be successful they will have four days to spirit-away the stolen funds.

In this instance, the business in question failed to identify that the new bank details linked to an account in a foreign country at the last minute – this should have been a red flag. They were probably extremely busy and wanting to ensure the transaction went through on schedule. It isn’t always this obvious.

If someone had spoofed the email sender, so it looked on the surface as if the request to change the bank details was legitimate and via a UK bank account, would you pick up on this on every occasion, in every situation?

You can never have too many processes in place to reduce the risk of a successful email modification fraud scam. Using your own safe list is simply not enough to stop this happening. Even the most comprehensive internal list (including bank account details) could unwittingly be updated to the incorrect details by someone in your firm who has been the victim of a fraudulent attempt. Perhaps your list will be overlooked when your staff are in a rush. One mistake is all it takes to be defrauded of your client’s funds and to have a hugely negative impact on your firm’s reputation.

Lawyer Checker’s Account & Entity Screen should always be a part of your everyday anti-fraud processes. Just because you had a burglar alarm on your house, you wouldn’t then feel safe to leave your front door unlocked while you went out, even on one occasion.

Lawyer Checker’s Account & Entity Screen should routinely be used for every transaction you conduct. Without this layer of protection, you leave yourself and your firm more vulnerable to email modification fraud.

This article was submitted to be published by Lawyer Checker as part of their advertising agreement with Today’s Conveyancer. The views expressed in this article are those of the submitter and not those of Today’s Conveyancer.

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Provider of market-leading risk management solutions to the legal sector.

Lawyer Checker is a leading provider of risk management solutions to the legal sector, offering a full inclusive suite of products and services which have one thing in common – they are all designed to protect and to promote your firm.

Our expert understanding of the legal sector means that we are in a unique position to ensure that your business is protected from the main threats without delay.

We are committed to being proactive when it comes to caring for our clients, and to getting them onto a platform where they are safer.

What does Lawyer Checker do?

Our suite of fraud prevention and cyber security products include:


Thirdfort is the latest in Lawyer Checker's innovative suite of products helping to defend law firms against the persistent threats lurking in the legal sector, by providing enhanced due diligence to source of funds and ID checks. It uses a mobile app to digitally confirm a client's identity by combining facial recognition technology with document scanning and open banking, enabling you to confidently “Know Your Customer." Find out more >

Account and Entity Screen (AES)

AES provides your firm with enhanced risk management when transferring funds by checking the accounts details of a solicitor you are sending funds to against our unique database. This ensures your client funds are sent to a legitimate bank account associated with the vendor’s conveyancing firm. Find out more >

Consumer Bank Account Checker (CBAC)

CBAC offers enhanced due diligence when remitting sales proceeds and balancing payments to consumers. It works by validating the source and destination of funds by checking the bank account details match your client’s personal details when sending or receiving client funds. Find out more >


A vital layer in protecting against email modification fraud, OnDMARC can actively block phishing attacks and obstruct 3rd parties impersonating your email domain to any recipient such as your clients, suppliers or employees. Email fraud is a law firm’s biggest risk. To avoid sensitive data being stolen through email impersonation fraud, safeguard your firm by implementing OnDMARC, otherwise anyone can send an email directly to your customers, suppliers or employees pretending to be you. Find out more >

Cyber Certifications

The National Centre for Cyber Security has identified the legal sector as a top target for cyber criminals. The sensitive data, large sums of money and important information that is held needs protecting to avoid severe damage to clients and your reputation.

Cyber Essentials

Cyber Essentials is a ‘must have’ certification for law firms which will protect your business, prevents data breaches and highlights to your customers, your regulators, the ICO and cyber criminals that you take cyber security seriously and shows you have taken the recommended steps to secure yourselves from potential threats. Getting Cyber Essentials certification for your firm is quick and easy, our in-house expert Cyber Essentials Assessors at Lawyer Checker (Part of Practical Vision Network) can conduct your online assessment and issue your certificate in less than 48hrs. For only £350 plus VAT it will give you peace of mind that you have shielded your law firm from cyber risk.

Cyber Essentials Plus

Our professional in-house assessors can issue official certificates to compliant firms for Cyber Essentials Plus, which is the next step up from Cyber Essentials. It covers the same controls but this time it is independently verified by a site visit from our expert assessor who will carry out a thorough inspection of online devices and web hosts through a detailed network vulnerability scan and certify your security arrangements to Cyber Essentials Plus level.

IASME Governance

Our expert in-house assessors can issue official certificates to compliant firms for IASME which includes Cyber Essentials certification along with a GDPR readiness assessment. It signifies to your customers and shareholders that you consider data protection a priority, and your desire to manage risk by demonstrating a high level of security. This certification is particularly suitable for businesses that are working towards ISO27001 and want a stepping stone, or for those that want to align to ISO27001 but perhaps don’t have the budget to go to a full certification.

ISO 27001

Our expert in-house consultants will help your firm prepare for ISO 27001 certification audits. It is internationally recognised as the most comprehensive and detailed accreditation to help embed a healthy security culture within your business. The consultation focuses on all business areas and not just the IT department. Our execution experts can work with you to implement ISO27001 in a way that works for your business and can provide as much or as little support as you need from project plans, document templates to full implementation. Our professional assessors can even help you to book and prepare for your certification audits.

To safeguard your business, use Lawyer Checker’s comprehensive products and services to arm you and your law firm with the right tools and information to be able to obtain the assurances you need to act in the best interests of your clients.

Key contacts:

Heidi Jenkins
Key Relationship Manager at the Practical Vision Network including Lawyer Checker, Solve Legal Marketing and The Move Exchange.
M: 0330 052 7588 E: [email protected]

Mark Siwiec
Business Development Manager (Cyber) at the Practical Vision Network including Lawyer Checker, Solve Legal Marketing and The Move Exchange.
M: 03300529150 E: [email protected]

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