New Zealand Law Society - The scams keep coming

The scams keep coming

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Attempts to defraud New Zealand lawyers by email continue. The scammers continue to use trusty old “templates” and – more alarmingly – new tricks which involve using the names of law firm’s members in emails to other lawyers.

The names used by scammers (unless they’re pretending to be a particular person) change all the time. The things to look for are Americanisms, poor grammar, repeated use of phrases such as “in your jurisdiction”, use of gmail and an out-of-the-blue approach (why would an enormous Chinese company contact you to recover a big debt?).


“Dear Counsel

“My name is Jayen Pack. I am contacting your firm in regards to a divorce settlement with my ex husband (Piper Pack) who resides in your jurisdiction. I live in Canada. We had a court agreement for him to pay $578,000.00 plus legal fees. He has only paid me $78,000USD since.

“I am hereby seeking your firm to represent me in collecting the balance from him. He has agreed already to pay me the balance but it is my belief that a Law firm like yours is needed to help me collect this payment from my ex-husband or litigate this matter if he fails to pay as promised.”


The following email and attachment was sent to a lawyer’s client (who were involved in court proceedings, but were alerted because they were summonsed to appear on a public holiday).

From: Donald Raymond Miller III
Subject: COURT NOTICE REF KP71610001


You have to appear in Court-Sitting on 8th February 2016. Copy of the Court document is attached to this email. Please read it thoroughly.

The case may be heard by the judge in your absence if you do not attend

Yours faithfully,
Donald Raymond Miller III
Court Secretary.

An attachment entitled “Court Notice PDF” then followed – clicking on it would probably have introduced malware.

Very worrying

Several law firms have received fake internal emails which purport to be sent by one of the lawyers in the firm.

While details vary slightly, the fraud sends an email using the name and email address of a lawyer – usually a partner or director or senior manager – to another firm employee asking for an international payment to be made.

In one attempt, the fake email from a partner to a firm accountant instructed payment of a large sum of money to a Chinese bank account.

The North Island firm detected the fraud and its IT support was able to identify the original sender of the emails as It appears that the sender had changed their display name to mimic the email address of the lawyer purportedly sending the email.

In another attempt, an employee of another North Island law firm received an email which appeared to come from another firm employee. Its format was as follows [exact wording]:

From: [email address of employee A]
To: [email address of employee B]
Subject: Request for October 21, 2015

Hi [First name of employee B]

Please I’ll need you make a Local and International wire transfer for me today. Can you make this happen right away, What will be needed to complete the transfer request?


[First name of employee A].
Sent from my iPhone”

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