As the result of an email hacking scam targeting UK law firms, an Essex couple were tricked by fraudsters into transferring £120,000 into a bogus bank account – which they believed was their solicitor’s.
Neither their bank, the police nor Action Fraud have so far shown much interest in helping the stricken couple. However, the Financial Ombudsman Service is now on the case and the actions of both Lloyds Bank and solicitors Steed & Steed are under scrutiny.
This is one of the worst cases of email intercept fraud – which is now the most prevalent type of cybercrime infesting the legal sector. The fact that the name on a bank account doesn’t need to correspond with the one on a bank transfer is a loophole in online banking security that regulators are keen to see eradicated.
Online banking customers should always treat any email requesting payment with suspicion and phone the recipient to verify its authenticity.