Internet Scams on Lawyers

It’s hard to believe that lawyers are still falling prey to internet scams.  But they are, all across the U.S.  These scams have become much more sophisticated over time.  A law firm can do what it believes is adequate due diligence by verifying  the legitimacy of the supposed client and debtor via the internet, and even get an assurance from their local bank that the bank check they have or are about to deposit into their trust account is legitimate.  All for naught, and to be left holding the bag.

What do you do when you get these email soliciations from a foreign company for help?  Are you tempted by the seemingly easy fee?  Do you just hit the delete key?  How about a third option?  Report the scammers to the correct agency for appropriate investigation and action.  That’s really the only way we can bring these frauds to an end.  And wouldn’t you feel good to know you helped put a nail in their coffin?

The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) is a partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C), and the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA).

IC3’s mission is to serve as a vehicle to receive, develop, and refer criminal complaints regarding the rapidly expanding arena of cyber crime. The IC3 gives the victims of cyber crime a convenient and easy-to-use reporting mechanism that alerts authorities of suspected criminal or civil violations. For law enforcement and regulatory agencies at the federal, state, local and international level, IC3 provides a central referral mechanism for complaints involving Internet related crimes.

Let’s strike back.  And meanwhile, use particular caution and conduct as much due diligence as possible before engaging in transactions with parties who are handling their business solely via e-mail, particularly those parties claiming to reside overseas.  Better yet, just don’t waste your time deciding whether to take on the representation, and report the contact to IC3.


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