Email Phishing Scam Targeting Attorneys Reported in 10 States
Ohio attorneys are advised to be on the alert for an email phishing scam that has been reported in at least 10 states, according to Scott J. Drexel, who heads the Office of Disciplinary Counsel in Ohio.
The email claims that a grievance has been filed against the attorney and that he or she has only a short time within which to respond, Drexel said. Some of the emails indicate that a response is required within as little as 10 days, Drexel said. The email invites the lawyer to “click here” for more information, which may then expose the lawyer’s computer or cell phone to a virus or to malicious software called “ransomware” that blocks computer access until a sum of money is paid.
Drexel reports that, to date, his office has not received any report indicating that an Ohio lawyer has been targeted by such an email. However, he warns that any such email received by an Ohio lawyer is not genuine and should be immediately deleted.
“Neither the Office of Disciplinary Counsel nor any certified grievance committee uses emails to make an initial contact with a lawyer against whom a grievance has been filed,” Drexel said.
Drexel urged any Ohio lawyer who receives a phishing email to contact his office immediately at (614) 461-0256 and ask to speak with him or with Chief Assistant Disciplinary Counsel Joseph Caligiuri.