Fraud Alert: January 19, 2017

Attention real estate and other practitioners: Fraudsters again target lawyers disbursing trust funds

January 19, 2017

Another BC law firm redirected millions of dollars in sale proceeds that it was holding in trust for a real estate client on revised instructions received from someone that the firm believed was the client’s lender but who was, in fact, a fraudster. In this case, the email address used by the fraudster was identical to that used by the client’s lender, except for one letter. We do not yet know how the fraudster knew the details of the transaction. Read our May 7, 2015 Fraud alert, Fraudsters are targeting lawyers disbursing trust funds with a change in payment instructions, for details of a similar scam.

This is a reminder that if you receive any change in payment instructions, you must consider the possibility that the new instructions may be fraudulent. Satisfy yourself that the change in payment instructions is legitimate through direct, in-person contact with the author of the change and by following the specific tips found here. Read the complete web page, Other social engineering scams, including phony change in payment instructions, to learn more about how to protect yourself from these sorts of scams.