FRAUD ALERT: ‘Ransomware’ virus targets US lawyers

As we’ve recently reported, lawyers from several US law societies have received emails threatening action for various practice-related infractions. Although we have not received reports of similar scam attempts in Nova Scotia, the subject line may appear as:

  • “[state/province] Bar Society Annual Invoice: PAST DUE”
  • "[state/province] Bar Complaint"
  • “The Office of the [state/province] Attorney Complaint”
  • "Lawyers and judges may now communicate through this portal" or
  • Simply using the name of a lawyer that you know who threatens to “See you in court”

The emails provide either a link to your “Account information” or will attach an “invoice” – opening either will infect your system with ransomware or other viruses that can block access to your computer until the user pays to unlock their own system.

The scam emails may also feature names and details from the bar association website to add an air of legitimacy to the scam attempt. Visit the NSBS ‘Contact us’ webpage and the LIANS ‘Staff’ page to obtain legitimate employee contact information. If you receive a version of this email do not respond to them, do not open any attachments or click any links – and contact us immediately (below).

For tips to avoid being victimized, visit the Fraud section on lians.ca, and to report or seek advice on dealing with fraud and scam attempts, contact Cynthia Nield at cnield@lians.ca or 902 423 1300, x346.

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