Last week’s post, Check Scams – Alive and Well in Oregon, generated some interesting feedback I wanted to share with you.
Referred by Your State Bar Lawyer Referral Service?
I have learned that some scammers may be invoking the name of the Lawyer Referral Service as a further means of appearing legitimate. It isn’t clear if the scammers are really finding lawyers through Lawyer Referral, or just claiming they did.
If a prospective overseas client tells you that he or she has been referred by the Lawyer Referral Service and the case fits the fact pattern described in my last post or the articles I referred to, decline representation. Lawyer Referral Services do not have the funds or staffing to investigate these potential clients. Screen all referrals carefully no matter the source of the referral.
For tips on how to weed out clients that aren’t right for you, see Make the Right Match: What if You Only Represented Clients You Liked?
New Scams Appear Every Day
Another common scam hitting law office inboxes seeks payment for a bogus package delivery. The subject line of the message is usually “Delivery update,” “Order Status,” or something equally benign that many of us would open. If you receive this message, or any e-mail you think may be fraudulent, forward it to the Federal Trade Commission at firstname.lastname@example.org, and then delete it.
For tips on how to spot the latest scams, take the Fraud Test, sponsored by the National Consumers League, or visit the National Fraud Information Center. Keep your spam filter up-to-date, as some lawyers have been fortunate enough to screen out these fraudulent schemes altogether.
If You Think You’re a Victim
If you think you’ve been targeted by a counterfeit check scam, report it to the Federal Trade Commission and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. The FTC enters consumer complaints into the Consumer Sentinel Network, a secure online database and investigative tool used by hundreds of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.
Copyright Beverly Michaelis 2009