Latest Phishing Scam Targets Sidley Austin
Summary: Scammers impersonate law firms all the time, with the latest attack claiming to be from Sidley Austin in London.
Email scammers hit a successful target posing as a law firm. After a scam goes on for a while, people learn not to trust it and law enforcement gets involved. However, legal entities are viewed as trustworthy figures, so when an email comes from a well-known law firm, people believe it. Emails from what people believed to be Sidley Austin were showing up, leading to an announcement by the U.K.’s Solicitors Regulation Authority.
The Sidley Austin email even included the firm’s London office. It was titled “Irrevocable Power of Attorney” and provided “for the recipient to receive inheritance funds.” Variations of this have appeared for many years with the name of other law firms.
In 2014, emails and phone calls were circling from someone that claimed to be Shearman & Sterling’s attorney John Adams. In that scheme, they were asking people to make large payments into a bank account. Reed Smith was the target of another email scheme in 2015 that asked the recipient to appear in court. The Baker & McKenzie scam involved the impersonator claiming to be lawyers working on debt collection cases.
The most recent scheme was from December when the scammers claimed to be from Twin Cities law firm Jeff Anderson & Associates. The firm is known for their work representing victims of clergy sex abuse. These scammers used multiple sources to reach their audience including Facebook, text messages, phone, and emails to tell people they owed money that must be paid immediately or else.