Friday Afternoon, Monday Morning, and Law Firm Risk


Law firm employees appear to be getting better at avoiding real estate scams, says Toni Ryder-McMullin at Today’s Conveyancer. Conveyance is the act of transferring an ownership interest in property from one party to another, and the term is used mainly in the UK and Ireland.

Conveyancing or real estate scams involve a type of email fraud in which an attacker monitors and then hijacks an email conversation just before a payment is about to be made, and directs a victim to send the money to the attacker’s bank account. These scams are the highest risk facing the legal sector, according to the UK’s Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).

Ryder-McMullin says conveyancing scams are also known as ‘Friday afternoon Fraud’ or ‘Monday morning Fraud,’ because attackers often strike when they know employees aren’t at the top of their game. “Conmen will target first thing Monday morning due to staff just starting their working week and perhaps not fully concentrating – or just before the weekend to avoid detection and businesses are closed for the weekend and won’t be noticed until a few days later,” she says.

The SRA says that conveyance firms appear to be waking up to the threat, with fewer cases observed last year. Rob Hailstone, founder of the Bold Legal Group, agrees that conveyancing firms are more aware of these scams than other types of legal firms, but these other firms are also vulnerable. “The takeaway is that the whole legal industry needs to be aware of this, especially as the scammers are looking at different targets than just conveyancing,” he said.

While awareness of scams is growing within conveyancing firms, attackers are stepping up their efforts to compete with an increasingly-aware workforce. Hailstone says the rising level of sophistication makes these scams harder and harder to spot. Employees need new-school security awareness training to help them stay ahead of these threats.

Today’s Conveyancer has the story:

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