There have been a number of cases in Queensland and other states, in which intercepted communications between a client and their solicitor have allowed criminals to steal funds in transit.
This is a matter of great concern to the Queensland Law Society, and we urge members of the public to follow guidance from their solicitor before electronically transferring funds as part of a transaction. As the peak membership organisation for Queensland’s solicitors, we cannot provide legal advice to members of the public concerned about cyber-attacks, however we have outlined some areas for you to discuss with your solicitor below.
Your solicitor will warn you:
- not to transfer large sums to their trust account (or anywhere else) unless you have confirmed the bank account details with a person known to you at the firm either by phone or in person
- if contacting the firm, to do so on their real number and do not allow yourself be scammed by fake contact details in emails.
You should be aware that – even with excellent security in place – email can often be intercepted. An added layer of security can be achieved by ensuring your bank is involved in the transfer transaction and confirms the details of the account the funds will be deposited in.
If you’ve suffered loss as a result of cyber fraud involving a law firm, there are some options available to you.
- Firstly, contact the firm either in person or on their real phone number if you’re concerned that emails or funds transferred may have been intercepted.
- Clients affected by an incident of this kind should also notify the Queensland Police and their bank immediately.
- If the money cannot be recovered, you may be entitled to compensation depending upon the circumstances.