Scam Alert: LSBA Warns Members about Wave of “Spoofing” Scams

The LSBA was notified by Bar members about a recent wave of “spoofing” scams that are using the names of real people without their knowledge. Learn more about spoofing, includings tips to protect yourself.

The Louisiana State Bar Association (LSBA) is continuing its mission to alert members about scams targeting lawyers and law firms.

Spoofing is the act of using a fake email display name to trick a recipient into thinking an email message is legitimate. The scammers often include enough personal information to make the email look real, including the name, position and company of the spoof victim.

If you have received an email that appears to be from a friend/colleague but is soliciting goods, gift cards, money transfers or encouraging you to follow a link, you probably have been the target of spoofing. For example, if your “friend” emails you that he has been mugged and has had his wallet stolen and needs funds to pay for his hotel. Or if your “colleague” emails you an urgent request to purchase gift cards from specific stores for a client. Before immediately reacting, recipients should stop and ask whether they have any reason to believe the email is genuine.

Here are tips to protect yourself from falling victim to these spoofing scams:

Don’t trust the display name. Check the email address in the “From” header — if it looks suspicious, it may not be legitimate. Even if an email has convincing branding and language, it does not mean that it is authentic.

Beware of urgent or threatening language. Invoking a sense of urgency or fear is a common spoofing tactic. If you receive a message asking for urgent financial assistance, you should pause and proceed with caution.

Call to confirm. If in doubt about an email that appears to be from a legitimate person, call or text the person yourself instead of replying to the message. Do this even if the message says the sender cannot be reached by phone for some reason.

Warn others. If you find the email is a hoax and comes from someone you know personally, immediately contact the original sender to let him or her know. Suggest that the sender send an email to this effect.

Do not respond. If you receive a phishing email, do not respond. Responding to emails like this confirms your email account as an active one and can result in you getting more spam.

LSBA News Resources

Louisiana Bar Journal Bar Briefs
Louisiana State Bar Association
601 St. Charles Avenue
New Orleans, LA 70130
(800) 421-LSBA(5722) / (504) 566-1600