And then it happened to me.
June 9th’s E-Blast from the SC Bar contained the following warning:
Alert: Phishing emails targeting lawyers
SC Bar members are cautioned to be aware of emails indicating that a complaint has been made against the lawyer or firm, or that they contain a special message from the Bar president. Such emails are not coming from the Bar and would be an attempt to phish members. Delete them immediately. Phishing emails are fraudulent emails that may contain links to phony websites or may request that you share personal or financial information by using a variety of techniques.
There may be clues, including a suspicious “from” email address. The email may include directions to click on a link, which purports to be a copy of the complaint or of the “special message.” Do not click this link, as it could be an attempt to put “ransomware” on the affected computer. Bar members are reminded that any official grievance would come via U.S. mail from the Supreme Court and that any important Bar announcement would appear in E-Blast or would be sent by an individual Bar staff member.
And on June 20, I received the following e-mail:
A “complaint” is enough to strike fear in the heart of any lawyer. The scammers rely on a stress-induced knee-jerk reaction result in clicking on the link. Clicking on the link is the first reflex in our fast-paced world. Fortunately, we have received warning after warning about this kind of phishing activity.
The most obvious clues in this particular scam were:
- The e-mail was from “complaint Dept” and the address was email@example.com. Nothing there reflects the SC Bar.
- The name of our bar association is the South Carolina Bar. The South Carolina Bar Association is a common misnomer.
- I don’t have a “law practice”. I work for Chicago Title Insurance Company.
- The South Carolina Supreme Court handles disciplinary complaints, not the SC Bar. And the Office of Disciplinary Counsel uses snail mail.
A huge thanks to the SC Bar for the warning! Be careful out there!