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Christopher Ballod Quoted in The American Lawyer Article on Law Firms’ Liability for Wire Fraud Scams

Philadelphia, Pa. (July 29, 2020) – Data Privacy & Cybersecurity Partner Christopher E. Ballod was recently quoted by The American Lawyer (part of Law.com) in an article titled “Law Firms Remain Vulnerable to Wire Transfer Scams, as Liability and Breach Costs Grow” about recent lawsuits brought against law firms that allege they could have done more to prevent wire fraud scams.

As the article describes, law firms, including Holland & Knight and Dentons, have fallen victim to wire transfer scams in recent years. As a result, these firms have had to face lawsuits involving claims of breach of contract, negligence, and breach of fiduciary duties. The plaintiffs in these matters have contended that the firms failed to take certain steps necessary to prevent the scam.

Mr. Ballod told The American Lawyer that wire fraud scams occur frequently, noting, “These attacks are super common.” He further explained, “The number is big, but I will tell you I have a few cases that are above [$1 million transferred] right now. Above a million is uncommon, but I wouldn’t even categorize it as rare.”

In addition, Mr. Ballod described how the high volume of employees currently working from home as a result of the pandemic has contributed to the uptick in network breaches, resulting in wire transfers and other types of cyber fraud. “We’re extremely busy,” he said. In explaining that having more network entry points increases the risk of cyber incidents, Mr. Ballod noted, “There’s a simple principle at play: If you broaden the attack surfaces, you’ll have more attacks at play.”

According to Mr. Ballod, attorneys could likely avoid many wire transfer scams by adhering to best practices, including calling to verify transfer requests and other information by phone.

Mr. Ballod, CIPP/US, CIPP/E, is a vice chair of Lewis Brisbois’ Data Privacy & Cybersecurity Practice, and a member of its Corporate and Complex Business & Commercial Litigation Practices. He regularly counsels clients on the prevention of data breach incidents, as well as during the response and notification process after an incident occurs. He is also a frequent contributor to Lewis Brisbois’ Digital Insights blog.

You can read the full article in The American Lawyer (subscription may be required).


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