Legal Firms Should Be Vigilant To Third Party Cloned Businesses

Fraudsters have targeted the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) by cloning one of their authorised and approved firms, GE Capital Limited.

The FCA said the bogus cloned firm has been trying to convince people that they work for a genuine approved firm.

Those firms and individuals who offer financial services in the UK have to be authorised or registered by the FCA. The false cloned firm who has been targeting people in the UK, claiming to be a legitimate firm, has been confirmed as an unauthorised firm by the FCA.

The FCA has stated it is called a ‘clone firm’ and fraudsters tend to use this tactic when trying to contact people out of the blue, so people should be vigilant when receiving cold calls. They say they may use the name of the genuine firm, the ‘firm reference number’ (FRN) they have given the authorised firm or other key details.

The cloned firm is using the following details in their attempt to scam people: 
 
GE Capital Limited (clone of FCA authorised firm)

Address: The Ark, 201 Talgarth Road, London W6 8BJ, UK

Telephone: +44 207 193 3752

Email: [email protected]

The real FCA authorised firm details, which fraudsters are claiming they work for, are as follows: 

Firm Name: GE Capital Limited

Firm Reference Number: 194522

Address: The Ark, 201 Talgarth Road, London W6 8BJ

Telephone: +44 207 599 5011

Website: https://www.gecapital.com/energy-financial-services/

The level of sophistication of fraudsters is very concerning and more worrying is that it is ever-increasing across the legal industry.

Consequently, conveyancers must be wary of third party vulnerabilities whereby criminals may clone lenders in an attempt to steal money and personal information of the parties involved in a conveyancing transaction.

More than 55% of British law firms suffered at least one cyber attack in the past 12 months, according to the ‘Hiscox Cyber Readiness’ Report.

Furthermore, cyber attacks on UK firms have soared by a staggering 243% over the summer season, in comparison to the same period in 2018 summer, according to new findings from Beaming.

It’s safe to say the fraud problem just won’t be swept under the carpet and cyber crime is a real threat, that continues to grow. With the legal sector dealing with large sums of money and data that is regularly transferred it will continue to be a huge threat to the industry.

But, what can be done to protect your firm and your clients? 

From the start, applying a positive cyber culture in your workplace that cascades from the top down is a great way to start.

Implementing accreditations such as Cyber Essentials, which is recommended by Government experts, is one of the ways you can prevent cyber criminals from accessing your firm’s technology.

Cyber Essentials certification is a ‘must have’ for law firms and shows that they have achieved the minimum required level of cyber security. It also demonstrates to your clients, other firms and stakeholders that you take cyber security seriously and shows you have taken the recommended steps to secure yourselves from potential threats – it protects firms from 80% of common cyber attacks.

Email fraud is a law firm’s biggest risk. Securing your email using OnDMARC will help to prevent criminals from cloning your domain, preventing other firms and your clients falling foul of email fraud.

Not everything can be done with technology though. Staff training surrounding due diligence, and encouraging employees to raise concerns when they see something suspicious will help to cement the positive cyber security culture.

 

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