Phishing Scam

Over the past two days, many of you may have received emails from “Dropbox Transfer” that purport to include files sent to you by a lawyer.  It is likely a phishing attempt.  Don’t click on links, open attachments, or download files without first contacting the attorney who supposedly is trying to transfer files to you.

It has happened to me twice.  Each time, I’ve received two emails purporting to be from the same attorney.   In other words, yesterday I received two emails purporting to contain “Dropbox Transfers” from Attorney A.   Today, I received two emails purporting to contain “Dropbox Transfers” from Attorney B.

Let’s pretend the emails purport to come from me.   Here are the common characteristics.  Note: where the phishing emails include hyperlinks to email addresses, I’ve replaced @ with (at) and . with (dot).

  • There is no salutation.
  • The emails are from “Dropbox Transfer <no-reply (at ) dropbox (dot) com”
  • The emails indicate “Michael Kennedy  from Bar Counsel sent you XX-XXXX.pdf”
  • The emails indicate “you can download these files now or until December __.”
  • The emails indicate  “Questions? Ask Michael Kennedy (ourcompany11 (at) iname (dot) com)”
  • The emails indicate “Download files.  Here what thy sent you.”
  • There is no signature.

Clearly, my email adddress is not “ourcompany11 (at) iname (dot) com”

As always, be careful out there.

Hill Street Blues

Scam Alert: imposter pretending to be a lawyer you know.

Recently, many Vermont lawyers received a barrage of emails, texts messages, and phone calls from someone pretending to be Vermont Attorney.  The contacts did not come from numbers or accounts associated with Vermont Attorney.  In each, the recipient was asked to purchase gift cards for Vermont Attorney’s nieces and nephews.

One recipient replied that he would do anything to help Vermont Attorney, but only after speaking to Vermont Attorney.  The recipient immediately received a phone call from a number other than Vermont Attorney’s.  The caller was a male with a foreign accent who claimed to be Vermont Attorney.  Vermont Attorney is not male and does not have a foreign accent.

There’s a positive aspect to the story.  As Vermont Attorney noted in an email to me:

  • “The really amazing thing is most everyone immediately responded.  Such a great thing to have a bar that protects each other!”

Indeed!

For more:

COVID-19 scams target older adults, prey on fears | Local News ...

Snow, a Celtics win, and another scam

Some things have been constant this winter:

  • cold & snow
  • the Celtics beating the 76ers
  • scams targeting lawyers

Image result for celtics logo

Yesterday, I blogged on a scam involving fake invoices from Vermont courts.  At the end of today’s post, I’ve pasted in an email that a Vermont lawyer forwarded to me this morning.  I’ve deleted the “from” and “to” information,  namely so that nobody sends an e-mail to the address from which the scam email originated  However, here’s a critical lesson:

The “from” line included a person’s name and then a Gmail address.  The Vermont lawyer noticed that the sender’s email address did not match the company’s domain name.  As such, the Vermont lawyer contacted the company. The company confirmed that the sender was not an employee and that the email was a scam.

In addition, regular readers will note that the email includes the hallmark of a classic scam: a Vermont lawyer is contacted by email by a prospective client from out-of-state who claims to be owed money by a Vermonter.

Undoubtedly, had the Vermont lawyer agreed to represent this “seller,” funds would’ve arrived from the “buyer” in the form of a bank check.  The lawyer would’ve deposited into trust.  Then, the lawyer would’ve disbursed the funds to “seller” . . . only to receive notice weeks later that the buyer’s check was fraudulent and that other clients’ money had been disbursed to the “seller.”

I’ve blogged often on this type of scam.  As I wrote in 2017, the scam is so obvious that I consider falling for it to be a violation of the duty to safeguard client funds.  The post is here: Trust Account Scams: they won’t be an excuse for long.

As always, be careful out there.

********************************************
From: xxxxx
Sent: Tuesday, February 12, 2019 11:32 AM
To: xxxxx
Subject: Re: PURCHASE/SALES AGREEMENT
We have been negotiating the sale of a our Equipment
‘” Rotary and DTH drilling – Multi-pass: Hole diameter 5 7/8 -10 5/8
in (149 – 270 mm) Maximum hole depth 205 ft (62.5 m) “.
to a buyer in your state and have  made some progress in price agreement.
At this point we need an attorney that would draft a purchase and sales agreement
for this transaction.
Find our buyers information below for your conflict check.
Cascade Drilling
1 Home Farm Way, Montpelier, VT 05602, USA
 I would like to know your billing rate and your retainer fee.
if our buyer clears your conflict check, do let me know so i can forward you
more information.
 You may also contact me directly at my phone number listed below,
Because of time difference, I am happy to communicate by email with you as long
as we are able to schedule phone calls should the need arise.
Regards,
xxxxx
Vice President
Rossingh Drilling BV
J Hugeslaan 11
9462 PD Gasselte Netherland.
Phone: +31 97005034472

Scam Alert: Fake Notice of a Disciplinary Complaint

I’ve become aware of a phishing scam that targets attorneys.

The scam is in the form of an e-mail from the “Ethics Board.”  The e-mail header indicates:

From:  Ethics Board <ethicsboard (at) vermont.gov>

Subject: Notification of Ethics Complaint No. xxxxx

Reply-to:  Ethics Board <ethicsboard (at) vermont.gov>

THIS IS A SCAM.  DO NOT CLICK ON THE LINKS IN THE BODY OF THE E-MAIL!!

Here’s a picture of the e-mail.  It was forwarded to my office by an attorney whose name I have redacted.

Scam

THIS IS A SCAM.  DO NOT CLICK ON THE LINKS IN THE BODY OF THE E-MAIL!!

I hovered over the links and it is clear that the links are to malware.

Bar Counsel notifies lawyers whenever a disciplinary complaint is filed.  I will NEVER do so by asking you to click on a link.

Please forward notice of this scam to other lawyers.  If you are targeted, please let me know.

Scam Alert: Fake Complaint

Over the past few days, several Vermont lawyers have been targeted by the latest scam. The scam involves an email with the following header:

  • From: The Office of The State Attorney
    Sent: Wednesday, November 30, 2016 10:38 AM
    To: Bar Member
    Subject: The Office of The State Attorney Complaint

Then, the body of the email reads as follows:

*********************

Dear Bar Member:

A complaint has been filed against your Business.

Enclosed is a copy of the complaint which requires your response. You have 10 days to file a rebuttal if you so desire.

You may view the complaint at the link below.  (Note: I have not included the link in this blog post. If you receive the email, DO NOT click on the link.)

Rebuttals should not exceed 15 pages and may refer to any additional documents or exhibits that are available on request.

The Office of The State Attorney cannot render legal advice nor can The Office of The State Attorney represent individuals or intervene on their behalf in any civil or criminal matter.

Please review the enclosed complaint. If filing a rebuttal please do so during the specified time frame.

Sincerely,

The Office of The State Attorney

****************

Clicking on the link will likely download a file that injects ransomware or adware, or otherwise compromises client data.    Be careful.

You might also consider passing this on to clients who might find themselves the target of a similar scam.

scam-alert