In The Times online, it is referred to as “Friday afternoon fraud” and after reading the article, I now understand why. It is said to have cost solicitors over £50 million in losses over the past six weeks alone, with gangs prime time for for ambush being Friday afternoons – one of the busiest times of the week within the industry.
Their tactics are simple and involve techniques such as hacking, malware and spear phishing. It is the usual stories we have all previously heard. An email or phone call is intercepted, there is a request for the change in bank account due to ‘audits being conducted’ or simply ‘wanting to change the receiving account’. Then as simple as that – the funds end up in the hands of the fraudster.
In a quote by Grant Clemence, of QBE business insurance, the words ‘sophisticated’, ‘organised’ and ‘insider knowledge’ were used in describing these tactics.
This is a news story that we are hearing far too often for our liking. It is high time solicitors found alternative means of communication with their clients, especially regarding transfers of funds and confidential exchanges.
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