On 11 June 2019, the Solicitors Regulation Authority issued a warning about emails that have been sent from a "Lloyd Chance" in relation to an inheritance scam.
The emails (sent from "firstname.lastname@example.org" and "Lloyd.email@example.com") informed the victim that she had been left a substantial inheritance by a "Kenneth Fall" and a "Donald D Kern". "Lloyd Chance" later sent a forged a practising certificate and a Deed of Trust to convince the victim that the inheritance was legitimate. This sophisticated phishing attack resulted in the victim divulging personal data and losing money. Unfortunately, this attack is not uncommon with the SRA issuing four separate email scam alerts just last week.
According to Action Fraud, the National Fraud & Cyber Crime Reporting Agency, £34.6million was reported to be stolen from victims between April and September 2018, a 24% increase on the previous 6 months. Hacking and phishing are common cyber threats as are fraudulent phone calls.
Between April 2018 and March 2019, one in four phishing reports made to Action Fraud were about fraudulent phone calls. HM Revenue and Customs have been a main target with fraudsters mimicking legitimate helpline numbers to scam taxpayers and steal their money. HMRC received over 100,000 phone scam reports last year and, as a result, have recently introduced new controls to put an end to these scams. The new controls appear to be a success with Pauline Smith, Head of Action Fraud, confirming that they have already resulted in a reduction in the number of spam calls.
Cyber crime continues to rise in scale and complexity, affecting government agencies, business and individuals alike. It is essential that you and your clients are extra vigilant and question unsolicited calls and emails requesting personal or financial information. For more information on how to protect yourself from fraud and cyber crime, visit the Action Fraud website.