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Fraud and Cybercrime Dangers

Frauds of various types continue to target lawyers in many areas of practice and fraudsters occasionally successfully dupe lawyers and law office staff.

Don’t be complacent and think you will never be fooled. These frauds are getting ever more sophisticated. Law firms, particularly real estate firms, are appealing and sought-after targets for criminals for three reasons. First, law firms have large amounts of sensitive and confidential information that can be valuable. Second, law firms tend to have large sums of money in their bank accounts. Last and not the least, relative to their clients and based on anecdotal information, law firms tend to have weaker security protection on their networks and systems.

The articles below will help you understand your exposure and take steps to reduce the likelihood your firm will be victimized by criminals.

Fraud Fact Sheets

Cybercrime and Bad Cheque Fraud

Real Estate Fraud

Fraude Immobiliere

Funds Transfer Instructions Verification Checklist

Any time you are transferring funds, you are at risk of being a victim of fraud. Consider using this checklist for every wire transfer.

You transferred funds to the wrong account. What now?

mystery person at laptop
Fraudsters try to trick lawyers into wiring funds to an account that the fraudster controls. Sometimes, they succeed, and the funds get into the hands of criminals. What do you do then?

LAWPRO CPD: Avoiding the wire fraud nightmare – What you need to know to protect yourself and your clients

man holding head
In this CPD program you will hear from the experts about the latest wire scams against law firms and their clients and how to stay a step ahead. You will learn tips you can easily implement in your practice to help prevent wire fraud and other cyber dangers. This is a must-view program for lawyers, their clerks and staff to understand and combat wire fraud.

Wire Fraud scams on the rise: 5 tips to reduce your risk

warning sign over laptop
LAWPRO is seeing an increase in phishing attacks against lawyers trying to trick them into wiring funds out of their trust accounts to the fraudster.

Does your firm need cybercrime insurance?

The cost of a cyber-breach goes beyond the financial losses of stolen funds, damage to equipment and lost income. There is also the damage to a firm’s reputation and the loss of confidence of its clients. With many insurers now offering cyber risk policies, firms have many options to tailor a policy to their specific needs.

The LAWPRO $250,000 cybercrime coverage: What it covers and why

LAWPRO mandatory insurance program includes coverage in the amount of $250,000 for losses related to cybercrime. This sublimit of coverage provides a modest “safety net” for lawyers in the area of cybercrime exposure. This article explains how the decision to offer cybercrime coverage was arrived at, and how this coverage can fit into a wider firm strategy to protect against the serious consequences of a cyber attack.

Law Society of Ontario fraud-related resources

At times frauds are perpetuated to launder money, support terrorist financing and/or support other illegal activity. Lawyers must not facilitate fraud or any other illegal activity when providing legal services. Anti-money laundering requirements are set by the Law Society of Ontario.

The Law Society of Ontario provides several resources including this worksheet: Red Flags of Fraud, Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Illegal Activity, that can be used to consider potential red flags and otherwise reduce your risks of participating in a fraud or other illegal activity.

Are you acting on a matter you suspect might be a fraud?

If you are a LAWPRO insured, please call LAWPRO at 1-800-410-1013 (416-598-5899) if you are acting on a matter that you suspect might be a fraud. Working within confidentiality obligations imposed by the Rules of Professional Conduct, one of our Fraud Team members will talk you through the common fraud scenarios we are seeing and help you spot red flags that may indicate you are being duped. This will help you ask appropriate questions of your client to determine if the matter is legitimate or not. In the event the matter you are acting on is a fraud and there is a potential claim, we will work with you to prevent the fraud and minimize potential claims costs.

If you have been successfully duped, please immediately notify LAWPRO as there may be a claim against you. Instructions on how to provide notice of a claim are here.

If you have been targeted by a fraud, please forward any of the emails you have received to [email protected]

Click here for a full chronological list of all fraud articles and resources LAWPRO has published.

Land Acknowledgement

The offices of LAWPRO are located on the traditional territory of many nations including the Mississaugas of the Credit, Anishnabeg, Chippewa, Haudenosaunee and Wendat peoples. Toronto is covered by Treaty 13 with the Mississaugas of the Credit. LAWPRO respects and acknowledges the histories, languages, knowledge systems, and cultures of First Nations, Metis, and Inuit nations.

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