Hugh Pickens writes: "The San Francisco Chronicle reports that last year a Long Beach law firm received an e-mail from a Hong Kong businessman seeking help collecting debts from American customers. After a month of signing paperwork and exchanging telephone calls, the attorney received word that one debtor had sent a $200,000 cashier's check to pay off his balance. The attorney deposited it in his firm's account, subtracted his $10,000 fee and wired the remaining $190,000 to his Hong Kong client. Then the attorney's bank called and told him the $200,000 check had bounced. "They send me a nice, big, worthless check," says the attorney. In this case, the bank was able to prevent the wire transfer from reaching its destination but attorneys say they are on the receiving end of sophisticated scams with increasing frequency that include attacks to steal client data that can be sold or used to learn the details of future litigation. "Six months ago I hadn't seen any of them," says attorney Brian Hoffman. "A couple of months ago I started seeing them once a week. Now I see them once or twice a day." Cyber-criminals now see law firms as particularly lucrative targets that can earn them hundreds of thousands of dollars per heist. "Most law firms are going to be in trouble if this is the level of adversary they're going to deal with," says attorney Alex Stamos. "It's impossible even for the largest law firms to have a dedicated security team that can hold their own against these people.""
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