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NEWS FLASH : IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT

 

The Legal Practice Act 28 of 2014 (LPA) (click here) was signed into law on 20 September 2014 and gazetted in the Government Gazette no 38022 of 22 September 2014. Parts 1 and 2 of Chapter 10 came into effect on 1 February 2015, in terms of a proclamation published in the Government Gazette on 23 January 2015.

 

NEWS FLASH : SCAM. Imposters intercepting e-mails and changing payee’s banking details. (click here)

 

IMPORTANT MESSAGE FROM THE ATTORNEYS FIDELITY FUND:

 

 

FOR URGENT ATTENTION: FRAUDSTERS TARGETING ATTORNEY TRUST ACCOUNTS

 

Kindly take careful note and ensure that your bookkeeping staff is notified accordingly

 

Fraud syndicates continue to make attempts at defrauding practitioners. The modus operandi is as follows:

  • the fraudster deposits a stolen cheque into a practitioner’s trust account;
  • the fraudster contacts the practitioner and purports to be an employee of the Attorneys Fidelity Fund (to allay suspicion) and explains that the deposit was made in error;
  • the fraudster requests that the practitioner pay the money back by electronic transfer, into a bank account which is purportedly a Fidelity Fund account (the account will in fact belong to the fraudster; opened using a stolen ID document);
  • the amount credited to the practitioners trust account (via the stolen cheque) will be reversed by the bank once it becomes clear that the deposit is fraudulent. If the practitioner did pay out against this deposit s/he will have fallen victim to the scam.

 

The success of this scam relies upon the fact that the onus is on the practitioner to ensure that the recipient account actually belongs to the payee.When an electronic transfer is made, the bank does not match the payee account number with an account name.

 

The Fund is not legally empowered to assist practitioners who fall victim to fraud. The Fund is, however, concerned that its name is being associated with fraud attempts and is making every effort to apprehend the perpetrators.

 

The reality is that scams of this nature are very common (often using the names of respected institutions; SARS is one example).Fraud associated with banking technology is the fastest-growing area of fraud in the developed world.It follows that, even if the Fund should be fortunate enough to apprehend the current perpetrators, the fraud attempts are likely to continue. The scale of these attempts is of such magnitude that there is a high probability that every practitioner will, at some stage, be approached by the fraudsters. Please be alert to this risk, and review your payment processes to ensure that your practice does not fall victim to fraud.

 

Please see (click here) for updates on RAF legislation here for case law.

 

Please see the conveyancing matters section for information about Red Flag Areas in Conveyancing (click here) and unauthorised payment of trust money (click here)

 

 

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