Inheritance scams among those reported by law firms

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Law firms and other practitioners in all sectors of the legal industry have been bombarded with scams in the last few months, according to an article in Today’s Wills and Probate.

The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has reported a spike of scam alerts. From July to September 2020, some 50 percent of the year’s scams were sent, with 20 percent of them reaching inboxes etc., in the month of September alone.

The SRA reported that on one day, there were six separate scam alerts that impersonated law firms and a practitioner. The majority of the alerts falsely claimed to be from a law firm, with one from a fake practitioner claiming to be from that firm.

Unclaimed inheritance

In one alert set out in October, an email falsely claiming to be from Freeths LLP, told the receiver they were entitled to a supposedly unclaimed inheritance. The email purported to be from an ‘Ian Bowler, Counsel’ and the unclaimed inheritance was said to come from either a Mr Craig, Mr Craig Klimek, Mr Craig Williams or Craig Brower.

Also in October, a flurry of scam emails were sent out in three days.

The SRA has tried to clamp down on fraudulent activity by reporting on email scams and website impersonations. It has joined forces with National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) to urge law firms and other legal practitioners to be on their guard as scammers increasingly target remote workers.

More at risk from cyber attacks

A recent report by the Ponemon Institute and Keeper Security found that UK businesses are more at risk from cyber-attacks because of the continuous challenges presented by most people needing to work remotely because of the global Covid-19 pandemic.

The report showed that 60 percent of respondents said their business had been hit by a cyber-attack. Almost a third of the companies targeted (32 percent) reported the cause of the attacks as due to compromised or stolen devices, while 57 percent felt their IT security budget wasn’t sufficient for managing the risks when so many people were working from home.

Danny Curran, the founding director and CEO of Finders International, said: “Finders International is proud to be  the first probate research firm member of Friends Against Scams, the national organisation that empowers people to take a stand against scams, which are thought to cost the UK economy between £5 and £10 billion a year and target 53 percent of people over the age of 65.

“False emails that claim the recipient is the rightful heir to an unclaimed estate are very dangerous and can lead to the loss of hundreds if not thousands of pounds. We urge people to investigate such emails or phone calls. Fraudsters will try to fool people with flashy, official looking documents or websites with the aim of persuading people to send them a processing or administration fee, or pay postal or insurance costs or make a premium rate phone call.”

Finders International has several accreditations relating to information security, including the ISO 27001 Certification for Information Security Management Systems, offering our clients reassurance that we observe best practice procedures.

Finders International is an award-winning probate research firm.  Our regulations and credentials include the IAPPR, Friends Against Scams, we are approved APSE partners and are the first probate research firm to be approved by the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI).  For a full list of our credentials, please visit our website here.  Alternatively, you can call +44(0) 20 7490 4935 or email [email protected]