Recent attempted frauds on client accounts have involved the cashroom receiving emails, apparently from the most senior person in the firm, enquiring into how to initiate a bank transfer.

A second email instructs a transfer to a bank account in Leicester (London personal address noted) and follow-up emails are received pushing for the transfer to be processed promptly. The emails still appear to come from the most senior person in the firm but some come from a Gmail account.

In a separate case, a bank has made a firm aware of attempts to initiate a large transfer and to set up a standing order on the strength of mandates/instructions containing forged solicitor signatures.

Cheque books and statements have also been diverted to a London PO Box following the forging of the solicitor’s signature on a request.

Please make cashroom teams and solicitors aware of these attempted frauds. Transfer requests should be fully checked and verified. Firms should also pay particular attention to monitoring of transaction activity and ensuring that thorough bank reconciliations take place in good time. Firms should also ensure that any delay in receiving bank statements is followed up with the bank as soon as possible.

Police Scotland has confirmed that all of these issues should be reported to the Police Scotland Economic Crime Unit and through the Action Fraud website.

False bank account details

We’ve also been made aware of a scam where members of the public have received emails claiming to be from solicitors, providing false bank account details.

Clients who have instructed a genuine firm of solicitors, often during the purchase of a new property, have received emails claiming to be from their genuine firm of solicitors reporting that the firm's bank account details have recently changed. The fraudulent emails, sent from a very similar email address to that of the genuine solicitor, ask the recipient to pay into the new bank account, often the deposit or completion payment for the purchase of their new home.

We have updated our scam alerts page for members of the public and are advising they contact their solicitor to verify their firm’s bank account details if they have unexpectedly received new details.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the Society's financial compliance team.

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Fraud and scam alerts

We regularly issue alerts to members and the public in response to threats to the profession. We also raise awareness of any potential scams involving fake solicitors or firms.