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Defeating Direct Deposit Phishing Attacks

April 16, 2019
Cyber Alert

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Risk Management Question

What steps can lawyers and law firms take to guard against phishing attacks that try to re-route direct deposit paychecks to a scammer's bank account?

The Issue

Lawyers are not the only marks of scammers; administrative and support staff have become targets, too. This new phishing scam usually takes the form of sending a legitimate looking email to an unsuspecting human resource employee, purporting to be from another company employee or supervisor, with instructions to change bank account and routing information for direct deposit paychecks. The email is written convincingly and professionally, and warns that the sender is going into a meeting or is otherwise unavailable, thus dodging verbal confirmation of the new routing information. After the human resource employee implements the instructions, the employee's paycheck is sent to the wrong bank account, causing financial harm to both the employee and the firm.

Risk Management Solution

Take the following steps to help defeat direct deposit phishing attacks:

The best defense is a good offense. Educate your employees on a regular basis about how to spot and prevent new phishing techniques and remind them to be careful out there.