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On several occasions in the past, fraudsters have struck just before the holidays – a time when law firms are short-staffed and banks are closed. This creates circumstances that give the fraudsters a better chance of duping the lawyer and getting away before the fraud is discovered.

Please be extra vigilant as we approach the winter holiday – and be especially cautious if payment arrangements change and become more urgent at the last minute. Make sure you religiously follow all your internal controls. Never disburse funds from your trust account until you are sure the funds that were deposited are really there – and the only way to get funds into your account on an irrevocable basis is a wire transfer via the LVTS system. Certified cheques and bank drafts can’t be trusted.

There is a wealth of information on the various types of frauds and their red flags on our Cybercrime and Bad Cheque Scams Fraud Fact Sheet, and Real Estate Fraud Fact Sheet.