Law firms routinely collect and issue W9 and 1099 forms. But if you receive an email requesting a tax form and weren’t expecting it, think twice. Ask yourself:
How did the email arrive? Via a website contact form, via your blog, or addressed to a specific person in your firm who would deal with such matters?
Do you recognize the sender?
Does the sender’s domain exist?
Does contact information given in the email match what you find on the web?
Do your records reflect that you did business with the sender this year?
Does any part of the email message seem “off?”
Remember scams can seem innocuous, even apologetic:
We are updating our new financial software and see that we don’t have a current W-9 or your tax id number in our system. If we could get this at your earliest convenience that would be wonderful. We realize and understand that you are tax exempt, but we would love to have the information fully entered into your new system. Thank you for your help and understanding. If you would like you can fax it to XXX-XXX-XXXX. Have a great day!
When a request seems fishy (we understand you are tax exempt?) or oddly worded (we would love to have the information fully entered into your new system?!) take the time to independently verify legitimacy. Check your records, run a web search on the purported sender, and pick up the phone. Don’t use the contact information given in the suspicious email. Avoid replying, submitting a fax, or clicking on any links the message may include. Most importantly, educate staff on all levels and keep your antennae up for new variations of scams.
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Coming December 10 at 1:00 pm Eastern, 10:00 am Pacific – a lawyer’s ethical duties in responding to disasters and data breaches. Featuring ABA Formal Opinion 483: Lawyers’ Obligations After an Electronic Data Breach or Cyberattack and Formal Opinion 482: Ethical Obligations Related to Disasters (2018).
This session will offer real-life examples on how to recover from a disaster or a data breach — ethically.
Disasters and data breaches bring with them conflicting priorities to resolve. Duties of disclosure compete with those of confidentiality for your attention. The responsibility to provide legal services for which your clients have contracted may be adversely affected by disaster. Model Rules 1.4 and 1.6 provide the standards and the recent ABA opinions flesh out your ethical duties in the event of a disaster (natural or man-made) or a data breach (which is of course a very specific form of a disaster!).
Join our panel of experts as they guide you through these opinions with practical examples of how best to ensure you and your clients are protected in the face of this new world and all it has to throw at you.
You may feel there’s nothing you can do about stress. The bills won’t stop coming, there will never be more hours in the day, and your work and family responsibilities will always be demanding. However, you have more control over stress than you might think. No matter how stressful your life seems, you can take steps to relieve the pressure and regain balance.
How? By using the four A’s: avoid, alter, adapt, or accept.
Download the “Stress Relief Toolbox” provided by the authors. As they suggest, it’s not a bad idea to use one of these tools every day. Don’t wait for stress to build up.
If you’re a list-maker, the “Stress Management Self-Help Checklist” may appeal to you. It’s a good way to stay on track and remind yourself of the importance of managing stress as part of your overall health.
Last, but not least: if you’re trying to get a handle on the stressors in your life, consider keeping a “Stress Journal.”