Outlook Update advice shown to be timely and relevant

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Issue Date: 27 February 2014

Outlook Update advice shown to be timely and relevant

One of the latest editions to the Risk guidance documents produced by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has been given more relevance by con artists attempting to use the regulator’s name. And in light of the attempted scam, the publication of “Spiders in the Web”, which focuses on cybercrime, has been brought forward. It was due to be brought out as one of two Risk Resources next week alongside the spring update for the Risk Outlook.

E-mails have this week been sent out to law firms claiming to be from the SRA, but in fact were attempts to infect IT systems with a computer virus. “Spiders in the Web” covers the risks from this type of scam, as well as a wider range of cyber-threats. These include the issue of bogus firms, which has also been of increasing concern to the SRA over recent years, as is the use of harmful software. Other potential risks covered by “Spiders in the Web” include hacking and online activism.

The Risk Outlook provides firms and consumers with a clear view of the SRA’s assessment of the drivers in the legal services market and the key risks, current and emerging, to the provision of competent ethical legal services. A further revision for 2014/15 will be published in the summer.

Andrew Garbutt, SRA Director of Risk, said: “This scam shows that the risks we are identifying are very real with genuine consequences, and that all firms should make themselves aware of the issues, assess how they could affect them and take steps to mitigate against them.”

The cybercrime paper can be found here: www.sra.org.uk/riskresources. The Risk Outlook Update will be available next week, and can be found here: http://www.sra.org.uk/solicitors/freedom-in-practice/ofr/risk-framework.page.

Bogus firms attempting to defraud the public or gain access to firms’ systems are committing criminal acts and subject to police action. The SRA has tried to mitigate against the impact on those who may be affected by publishing potential scams when it’s made aware of them.

These scam alerts can be found here: http://www.sra.org.uk/consumers/scam-alerts/scam-alerts.page.

Andrew Garbutt said: “E-mail is the preferred method of communication and we would not want firms to be discouraged from opening genuine e-mails from us. Our e-mails end with the address “@sra.org.uk“, as detailed in the alert itself.”

The scam involving the SRA can be found here: http://www.sra.org.uk/sra/news/scam-email-sra.page.┬áThis information includes details of how the SRA’s approach to e-mailing solicitors.

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