If this isn’t your worst nightmare, it should be.
Here is an actual email from a law firm. But read the whole article before hitching up your judgey-pants. Could this happen to you?
(Names removed for obvious reasons)
A prospective client went on our website and completed a”Personal Information Form” (which is a 4 page form people usually print out, complete by hand, and bring with them to their first meeting with the attorney.). This person said she filled one out online on the website, and sent it back to us. Is there a way to somehow retrieve a completed form if it was sent back to us on the website? Neither the attorney or myself received this in our emails. The person who sent this to us is very upset that we did not receive the completed form and is worried that personal information is floating somewhere on the internet.
How did this happen? Could it happen to you?
Very possibly if you don’t get your online act together!
Is Your Website Secure?
Visiting the lawyer’s website the first red flag is that their site is not secure … When you go to your website, is the address http://www.mylawfirm.com or is it https://www.mylawfirm.com?
If your site address does not have the https, then Google will give visitors a warning that the site is Not Secure.
Every new website we build has a security certificate that gives visitors assurance your website is secure. But if your website is more than a year old, you may have to upgrade to get a security certificate installed and your website reconfigured.
Teaching Point: if your website is not secure, get your act together and contact your webmaster NOW. While security certificates may be very cheap or even free, installing and re-configuring your website may cost you some money. This is a small price to pay for your own peace of mind and that of prospective clients who visit your website.
Do You Have PDF Forms on Your Website?
Do you have a Personal Information Form (PIF) or a Confidential Client Questionnaire on your website as a downloadable PDF?
IF SO, THIS COULD HAPPEN TO YOU.
A downloadable PDF is not a secure method of collecting client information. I have seen attorneys insist on loading these forms onto their website as a matter of convenience — THEIR convenience — so they don’t have to email, fax or mail the form.
Here’s a clue. NONE of those methods are secure. ALL of them are out-dated. And even if you only have them on your website as a “matter of convenience,” you run the risk that an unwitting prospect will fill one out and try to email it to you. And they may type the email address incorrectly or make some other mistake that sends their confidential information into cyber-space … or literally God-knows-where. Perhaps they only type the first two letters of your email address and their browser “auto-fills” the rest of it with the email of an ex-mother-in-law … who now has all of their personal information, including the value of their estate and a list of assets!
We offer all of our clients a secure website and secure, encrypted data collection as part of an automated, online client intake process so you never have to worry about this happening to you.
Book a free strategy call with James now to learn more.