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Money laundering scammers target lawyers

Money laundering scammers target lawyers

A string of internet fraud attempts aimed at solicitors has prompted the New South Wales Law Society to caution legal practitioners against threats lurking online.President Mary Macken has…

A string of internet fraud attempts aimed at solicitors has prompted the New South Wales Law Society to caution legal practitioners against threats lurking online.

President Mary Macken has warned lawyers to "constantly be on their guard" against the growing threat of internet-based deception, particularly in relation to money laundering.

"There are a number of scammers out there practicing this deception and they are changing their methods and presentation all the time," said Macken in a statement issued to Lawyers Weekly.

According to Macken, the most recent threat comes in the form of overseas "clients" who tell the solicitor they wish to engage them in order to recover a large sum of money.

While instructions are being negotiated by the "client" and solicitor, a large cheque is received by the solicitor from another overseas individual, purportedly in payment of the whole or part of the debt claimed by the "client".

The "client" then issues instructions to the solicitor, via email, to deduct "very generous" fees for themselves before requesting that the cheque be cashed in a foreign bank account - usually in Hong Kong or China.

However, the cheque is a forgery and is often drawn on Citibank in the US, Westpac Surfers Paradise or the Commonwealth Bank Victoria.

"The fraudsters aim for the transfer to take place before the bank provides notification of the dishonour of the cheque they sent," said Macken.

Macken urged solicitors to contact the Australian Federal Police if they suspect they are being targeted.

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