Another Attorney Trust Account Hit By Online Fraud

Wow, I can’t believe it’s been more than two months since I’ve had a chance to post to the blog.  I want to thank those subscribers who wrote to me to inquire whether I was still alive and well, given my online absence.  Yes, I’m fine.  I’ve just been on the road a lot more than usual.

Is it coincidence that the last post concerned a fraud attempt upon an Oregon attorney, and I’m following up with another?  I don’t think so. 

The Florida attorney had her trust account hit for a significant sum.  She was willing to engage in online banking thinking that the several layers of security provided by the bank itself would be sufficient to protect her accounts.  What she did not take into consideration was the very real possibility and threat of scumware (a/k/a spyware) being installed on her computer — coming in hidden in an email — capturing her logon ID and passwords, which the criminals then used to access and make wire transfers out of her trust account.  The actual implementation of the transactions were done surreptitiously through her computer, so that the computer’s ID identification (e.g. IP address) would match that which the bank’s system recognized as legitimate. 

You should read this story which appeared in the June 15, 2010 edition of The Florida Bar News.  If you’re presently doing online banking, it will certainly give you pause.  It will also give  you some food for thought about how to tighten security.  I noticed that the victimized attorney stated she had anti-virus software, but did not acknowledge having anti-spyware software.  And that’s the culprit that breached her security. 

Anti-virus software alone isn’t sufficient protection.  It’s like brushing your teeth but never using dental floss or mouth wash.  Your dentist will tell you that the combination is what provides maximum protection.  Similarly, your firm should utilize a firewall, anti-virus and anti-spyware software, and should keep all up to date.

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