Byte of Prevention Blog

by Jay Reeves |

Follow the Money in Cyber Scams

Follow the money.

That phrase is often applied to the investigation of political scandals. But it also applies to the tactics of cyber-scammers.

“Following the money” is the approach used by online fraudsters. Initially they attempted to hack into the systems of the lenders until the lenders began to tighten their internet security. Then the fraudsters moved to hacking the closing attorney’s and realtor’s computer systems. While those attempts still occur, law firms heeded the warning and strengthened their security measures enough that the fraudsters added a new target to their criminal operations. The fraudsters recognized the scheme might have greater success using the softer target of the buyers’ internet presence rather than the attorneys’ office. Fraudsters are now posing as the seller in the transaction.

Attached is an excellent article from the folks at Investors Title detailing how this latest scheme works along with suggestions you can take to minimize your firm’s and your client’s potential exposure to this latest version of online real estate fraud.

For questions, please contact Wayne Stephenson or Uta Zacharias at LML. For additional risk management resources, please visit the LML Risk Management webpage.

Here is a Lawyers Mutual ALERT on following the money in real estate cyber scams

Looking for CLE that’s easy, convenient and available 24/7? Lawyers Mutual has it! Our on-demand programs help you meet your annual CLE requirements according to your schedule and from the comfort of your office. Topics include Real Estate, Cyber, Estates and Trust Planning, Legal Ethics, Law Practice Management, Technology and Wellness. Best of all, these programs are free for Lawyers Mutual insured lawyers and their paralegals and staff. On-demand CLE is yet another benefit of being a member of the Lawyers Mutual family. For close to 40 years, Lawyers Mutual has been bringing protection and peace of mind to lawyers in this state, and now on-demand CLE. Visit our website to learn more. Find out why Lawyers Mutual is the smart choice for liability coverage.


8 Tips for Growing Your Cyber Awareness

  1. Be click aware. “Think twice before opening and responding to an email from a recipient you don’t recognize. When in doubt – delete and ignore.
  2. Pay attention to details. Take a close look at the spelling of the email address, the company URL, and the link details.
  3. Ask questions. Before installing a software update or responding to a request from a colleague, talk to the sender in person. Pick up the phone or walk over to your colleague’s desk and ask them about the request.
  4. Slow down and read. Cybercriminals know you’re busy and receive a lot of email, so they hope you won’t read their email too carefully. Look out for spelling errors, awkward use of language, and urgent requests.
  5. Keep your computer and devices up to date. Install operating system, browser, and app updates. Companies like Microsoft, Apple, and Google send these updates to fix known security flaws or to improve the security of your computer or device.
  6. Shop carefully. Cybercriminals know that most of us shop at the big online retailers and send emails that pretend to offer special deals from your favorite retailer. However, the links to these deals take you to a faked website that steals your information, your money, and potentially installs ransomware. Always visit the online retailer website directly by entering the URL in your browser.
  7. Never use free public Wi-Fi. Do not shop, do online banking, or send emails on an open public Wi-Fi network. You do not know who is operating this network and it’s very easy for cybercriminals to spy on the network and steal your information and transaction details. Always use secure, password protect Wi-Fi – or better yet, wait until you’re home or at work and connected to trusted Wi-Fi.
  8. Do not give out personal information. No Canadian government agency will email (or phone) you asking you to send them personal information. Do not respond to any emails that ask you for your mailing address, phone number, social insurance number, tax information, or credit card details.”

SOURCE: TerraNova Security

Who knows what will happen in 2024? One thing is certain: Lawyers Mutual will be here, through thick or thin, good times or bad, to provide protection and peace of mind to North Carolina law firms, just as it has been doing since 1978. In fact, we’re the only professional liability insurance carrier to have done this continuously over that time. Other companies have come and gone. We alone have stood steadfast for our state’s practitioners. Want to learn what Lawyers Mutual can do your practice? Visit our website, give us a call, or drop by our office. You’ll see why Lawyers Mutual is the smart choice for liability coverage in North Carolina.


About the Author

Jay Reeves

Jay Reeves practiced law in North Carolina and South Carolina. He was Legal Editor at Lawyers Weekly and Risk Manager at Lawyers Mutual. He is the author of The Most Powerful Attorney in the World, a collection of short stories from a law life well-lived, which as the seasons pass becomes less about law and liability and more about loss, love, longing, laughter and life's lasting luminescence.

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