Website tracks scams aimed at attorneys
By now, most lawyers know the email solicitation from the Korean women asking your help collecting funds from a divorce settlement is a scam. As is the email from the Belgian company asking for your help in facilitating the sale of the floating dredger, and the Chinese firm needing your services to collect an unpaid commercial debt, or the doctor from England who wants you to help him buy a vacation home on the beach.
But the tactics of the con men are ever-shifting and seemingly becoming more sophisticated as time goes on, making it hard — at times — to determine what is a legitimate business opportunity or an invitation to get taken for a ride.
To assist lawyers in navigating this digitally complex minefield, a Canadian company, Lawyers’ Professional Indemnity Company (LAWPRO), has collected a database of the scams targeting attorneys at http://avoidaclaim.com/fraud-warnings.
Information on how various scams work and the “client” names associated with each dodge can be found on the site. Some of the areas listed include divorce settlement fraud; real estate fraud; employee injury/dismissal fraud; debt collection fraud; intellectual property rights fraud; business loan fraud; equipment/inventory purchase fraud; and fake IDs, documents, and checks.
Some of the latest warnings on the site include:
Firms in California receiving an email from the purported Vikram Somany of CERA Sanitaryware, Ltd., looking for assistance with a large commercial purchase and sale.
Firms in Ontario receiving an email from the purported James Smith of JPL Shellfish, (Scotland) Ltd., seeking help with a large commercial purchase and sale.
Two Florida firms reporting an email from the purported Christopher Maitner of Christopher Metal Fabricating looking to retain them with a commercial debt collection.
All three of these scams seek to dupe lawyers into wiring real money from their trust accounts after the purchaser (who is part of the fraud) deposits a fake check.
The website also has a feature that allows lawyers to report suspected scams that will be added to the database.