Scammers Find New Favorite Target: Lawyers

Lest you think that the only people being taken in by apparently obvious scams are naive rubes, it looks like lots of people with fancy law degrees are being scammed by letting their avarice get the better of them.

The Wall Street Journal has the story of how scammers are increasingly targeting lawyers who are hungry to take on new clients:

Crafting elaborate stories that often involve real companies or properties, con artists say they live abroad and need help collecting money from a debtor or a legal settlement. They ask the lawyers to wire the funds to bank accounts overseas, after taking a cut in fees for their services.

The scammer then sends a bogus settlement check — along with documents that add an air of truth to the story — to the lawyer. If the lawyer attempts to call any of the people referenced in the documents, they will reach actual people; actual people who are part of the scam.

So the lawyer then deposits the settlement check and wires money (minus the attorney’s fee) to the “client.” Meanwhile, the lawyer’s bank is figuring out that the check is worth absolutely nothing.

It takes a higher class of criminal to rook a lawyer, say those who investigate such scams.

“The guys that are doing this, they are the top of the game,” admits U.S. Postal Inspector Louis Di Rienzo, who estimates that law firms have been scammed out of at least $70 million since 2009.

In Email, Scammers Take Aim At Lawyers [Wall Street Jounal]

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.