Email Scams – Be Vigilant

Paying Online.jpgThe Internet must easily rank as being the best invention of the late 20th century. The ease in which we are now able to communicate with each other around the world really is worth its weight in gold. And alas, this is exactly how more and more unscrupulous individuals feel about the potential opportunities to exploit others and even steal using the World Wide Web.

We have all heard about the dangers of e-mail scammers lurking on the Internet and now realise that we have to protect ourselves from these attacks. This is now more prevalent within the legal industry than ever before, with around 500 law firms having been targeted in a recent e-mail scam from one source alone, as reported by the Solicitors’ Regulation Authority (SRA).

The SRA also went on to reveal that they have had reports of £7 million of client money being lost to cyber-crime in 2016 and are now warning Legal Secretaries and all personnel at legal firms to be extra vigilant when it comes to opening e-mails, especially links from unknown sources.

These scams often originate from other countries around the world and these people have so much experience in perfecting their communications that their e-mails will seem to be genuine to the receiver at the other end. Unfortunately, however, once you open certain attachments in the e-mail, what is known as “malware” is unleashed into your computer system, and this can allow the criminals at the other end to spy on everything you are doing from that moment on. This includes being able to note all your passwords and other highly sensitive information that will enable them to steal money from your law firm.

In addition to being extremely vigilant about opening attachments in e-mails from unknown sources, there are a number of other things Legal Secretaries and their law firms can do to try to keep these criminals at bay:

•    Use cloud-based computing for storing, processing and accessing information
•    Back files up on a regular basis
•    Regularly back up using a file that is not directly connected with the main system
•    Keep your firm’s software up to date
•    Use a reliable and reputable anti-virus system
•    Report all such onerous e-mails to the police and SRA straight away

It is important to note that it is not just the larger legal firms that are being targeted by these scammers: the SRA has stated that almost half of the cyber-attacks they are aware of have been against smaller firms. 

As Internet crime is growing at a shockingly faster rate than any other area of criminality, this means all Legal Secretaries and staff working at law firms have to be on their guard at all times. Moreover, it is equally imperative for you to take this same mentality back home with you, also, and ensure all your families’ devices are protected and safe from malware cyber-attacks. On the Internet, we are vulnerable to criminal activity and crime waves that are rife in many other countries in this world — so do respect this and take care.