Reports have emerged that fraudsters are cloning brands in order to conduct financial scams.
According to a number of well-known companies, fraudsters are stealing everything from brand logos to staff names as a way of convincing consumers to hand over large amounts of cash.
Positive Lending recently discovered four instances where members of the public had been targeted by fraudsters pretending to be from the company. Following the advice of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) after the cloning was reported, Positive Lending have now published warnings on their website.
Unfortunately, brand cloning is not a risk confined to the financial sector. As highlighted in the SRA’s Risk Outlook, the growing number of bogus firms targeting both consumers and professionals presents a new type of risk for solicitors.
Often taking on the identity of another practice, bogus firms aim to gather personal data and obtain client monies by copying a firm’s brand or inventing their own.
Bogus firms were named by the SRA as a cybercrime that firms should be alert to, and with the majority of client correspondence now occurring online, it’s not difficult to see why.
Whilst you might question transacting with an unknown firm, seeing a familiar solictor’s name in your inbox is unlikely to ring alarm bells…
But it should.
The techniques of fraudsters are growing in sophistication and as stated in the SRA’s Risk Outlook, it’s vital that firms ‘confirm the identity of other firms that they deal with.’ In order to ensure that transactions are properly protected, it’s essential that checks are applied on a wide-scale basis and prevention strategies are taken seriously, especially at a time when the risk of fraud is at an all-time high.
To verify that the bank details of a third-party firm are genuine and mitigate the risk of fraud, the SRA advises considering the use of a service such as Lawyer Checker.
As well as protecting transactions to a consistently high level, the use of a service such as Lawyer Checker can positively influence the culture within a firm and ensure that employees are alert to the risk.
At a time when new threats to client funds are emerging frequently, it’s vital that prevention strategies are implemented on a wide-scale basis. It is only then that their effectiveness will be ensured.