There have been several reports of fraudulent activity via e-mail spoofing (e-mail messages with a forged sender address). The fraud most commonly occurs in wire transactions for large sums of money, especially in real estate transactions, and the latest scams go beyond an outside party providing wiring instructions.
In this scam, the hackers are able to gain access to an e-mail account and obtain all necessary information that would allow them to assume another identity (such as your client). The hackers can then insert themselves in the wire transfer process and issue instructions to redirect funds. Even with a multi-level authentication system that entails both a telephone call and an e-mail is still susceptible to fraud since hackers can and will call you to confirm the wiring instructions.
To help protect yourself and your firm from this type of fraud, always initiate any telephone calls regarding the confirmation of a wire transfer to ensure you are directly dealing with your client. Do not look to the wire confirmation e-mail for a telephone number or other contact information-always be sure to verify client contact information in your client file. Also consider talking with your malpractice insurance carrier to know your coverage and get additional tips to protect yourself.