find the latest legal job
Corporate Counsel and Company Secretary
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Newcastle, Maitland & Hunter NSW
· Highly-respected, innovative and entrepreneurial Not-for-Profit · Competency based Board
View details
Chief Counsel and Company Secretary
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Newcastle, Maitland & Hunter NSW
· Dynamic, high growth organisation · ASX listed market leader
View details
In-house Projects Lawyer | Renewables / Solar | 2-5 Years PQE
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: All Australia
· Help design the future · NASDAQ Listed
View details
Property lawyer - Melbourne
Category: Property Law | Location: Melbourne CBD & Inner Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· Impressive client list, national firm · Well-led and high-performing team
View details
Senior family lawyer - Melbourne
Category: Family Law | Location: Melbourne CBD & Inner Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· Outstanding national firm · High-calibre family law team
View details
Law firms victims in new scams

Law firms victims in new scams

Law firms are being targeted in a major new scam. In a shocking turn, some law firms have already fallen for it.

THE Law Society of NSW has warned its member firms about a scam in which a fake client requests advice in a debt collection matter. 

Law firms have been landed with variations of the same scam, in which they are contacted by an overseas company, allegedly based in Japan, Mainland China or Hong Kong, requesting advice. 

Just when law firms are more desperate for work in the global economic downturn, and are more likely to fall for such scams, the false clients are deliberately targeting bruised law practices. 

"In one case the debtor company advised of had a brand in Australia and an email from the prospective client indicated that there has been agreement to a part payment of the debt," the Law Society warns. 

"Following the acceptance of the instructions an envelope arrived by express post at the practices, which contained a bank cheque drawn on a US bank for $US250,000 in one case and $US470,000 in another, as well as an invoice relating to the debtor and creditor companies. The cheques were deposited to the practice's trust account," it said last week. 

"It must be recognised that the clearance time for a cheque drawn on an overseas bank is far greater than that of an account in Australia. 

"In the meantime, the client pressed for payment by EFT to an account in an overseas country, less the practice's retainer fee. The branch of the debtor company was contacted and they advised that the circumstances of the debt and cheque in question were not known to their company. 

In one instance, a practice received scanned PDF documents, including an invoice with an Australian debtor, certificate of incorporation, certificate of quality certification and passport. The bank cheques in question were not met by the US bank who advised that the cheques in question were not genuine." 

The Law Society warned firms to take case to ensure that any cheque has been cleared and that cleared funds are held in the trust account before it can be drawn against.

"Practices across Australia are now receiving these fraudulent emails. From information received, it would appear that there are more than one set of scammers involved, as some of the emails and documentation are more sophisticated than others."

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

Law firms victims in new scams
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Aug 23 2017
NT Law Society sounds alarm on mandatory sentencing
The Law Society Northern Territory has issued a warning over mandatory sentencing, saying it hasn’...
Aug 22 2017
Professionals unite in support of marriage equality
The presidents of representative bodies for solicitors, barristers and doctors in NSW have come toge...
Aug 21 2017
Is your firm on the right track for gig economy gains?
Promoted by Crowd & Co. The way we do business, where we work, how we engage with workers, ev...
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...