Management Assistance Program
Scams Targeting Lawyers
Don't let it happen to you. Collection lawyers are being targeted specifically. OBA's Jim Calloway says it's essentially the same old scam we've seen for the last ten years, but with new iterations.
Calloway breaks it down so you know what to look for:
- A contact out of the blue, usually by email, usually from someone outside the U.S. wanting to hire the firm for a matter involving a lot of money.
- A very large cashier’s check is sent to the law firm, $300,000 - $350,000 is very common. This check will be absolutely indistinguishable from a legitimate cashier’s check, with holograms or watermarks. The check is a complete fabrication, but the account number is usually an innocent third parties actual bank account that has usually millions of dollars on deposit, like a mortgage or escrow company. Often the scam is the client is buying something or settling an existing claim to justify the huge sum.
- Then “something happens.” Someone else bought the oil rig. etc. Then the hook “So go ahead and keep $25,000 for your trouble, but we are working on another deal in another country, so can you wire the rest of the funds back to us?”
- The lawyer may not appreciate that cashier’s checks from strangers are not as good as cash today because of these scams and also doesn’t know it could take awhile to discover a forged cashiers check in an often churning escrow account. It is rarely possible to reverse a wire transfer if done in a few hours. But by the 24- 48 hour mark that money will have been wired through several accounts and is gone for good.
The FBI urges firms or victims of an internet scam to file a complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center.