Scam alerts at record high mid-year.

Scam alerts at record high mid-year.

A couple of years ago it is fair to say that as an industry we were not exactly quaking with fear at the prospect of identity theft. 
Yes, we were all aware of it as a notion; certainly we may well have all been vigilant for quite some years in respect of personal identity theft. It was common practice to ensure that we shredded the likes of bank statements, bills and other personal documents, but it was with an ‘it won’t happen to us/me’ attitude. 
Fast forward to the here and now — albeit only two years later – and there has been a very scary increase in the threat of corporate identity theft. Not a week goes by now without a scam alert from the SRA and more information on cybercrime from the likes of Action Fraud and CIFAS. The figures of 2011 of ONE scam alert in the month of September are a distant, and quite frankly desirable, memory. The subsequent rise to 21 alerts in 2012, which included the case of Aplins in December that same year, meant that the SRA released its now well-known warning with regards to the reliability of the Law Society’s Find A Solicitor site.
Within its second Risk Outlook, released last month, the SRA stated clearly that there has been an increase in firms targeted by criminals looking to gain a badge of legitimacy; by using the brand and identity of law firms. This is clearly a very real and present threat; at the time of writing the number of alerts for 2014 so far stands at 108. A severe increase on last year’s total at 103. 
So what next? We wait for the criminals to keep targeting law firms, well known for holding large sums of client money? Look out for the scam alerts and circulate these and any other issued documents on the subject? 
Yes and no, it serves a business well to keep abreast of this as an issue, but what are you doing to be proactive in this age of cyber-crime? How many checks do your firm and its teams do? For example, in your conveyancing department, which more than likely has one of, if not the, highest values in the client bank account, what do you do to ensure the protection of client money, the adherence to Rule 10? 
Can you really say to your client that you are certain that the bank account their purchase funds are being transferred to is a bona fide solicitor’s bank account? If the answer is no to this question then you need to take a look at how your department and your staff risk manage transactions.  
Two strategies we suggest are:
1. Blanket Policy
Using Lawyer Checker on all of your transactions allows you to demonstrate Outcomes Focused thinking across the board for this specific risk. It avoids having to create a process for deciding on whether to use Lawyer Checker in each transaction and potentially failing to use Lawyer Checker when important information could have been picked up
2. Safe List Policy
For this policy, transactions fall into two categories.
1. Transactions with firms that you deal with on a regular basis

2. Transactions with firms you have had little or no dealings with previously.

This could include transactions where you are dealing with a firm that you recognize but the Fee Earner is not known to you or if you have concerns about the transaction.

For the firms that you deal with regularly, we recommend that you build a safe list of their accounts that can be checked before you send funds each time you conduct a transaction with them.
For those firms that you do not know well, we suggest you conduct a Lawyer Checker search in order to adequately manage the risk associated with the transaction.
Please do not hesitate to contact the Lawyer Checker team on 0845 8354 666 or email [email protected] .

Lawyer Checker

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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]

Suite 4, Wright House, 67 High Street, Tarporley, Cheshire, CW6 0DP

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