Be extra careful when hiring a lawyer, or you could end up giving away personal information and money to a scam artist. The FBI is warning attorneys and their clients to be on the lookout for scam websites that use real lawyers’ information to cheat people seeking legal services.
How the Scam Works:
The FBI is currently investigating a case in Texas where scammers set up a fake website in the name of a retired attorney. They used her maiden name, former office address and portions of her biography to create a believable site.
The Texas case is not an isolated incident, and other attorneys have complained about the use of their names and professional information to solicit legal work. Although the fake website is a new twist, scammers have long been known to impersonate law firms and call members of the public attempting to collect debts.
I Think I’ve Found a Scam. What Should I Do?
- As a consumer, if you have a question about whether you are dealing with a legitimate attorney, please contact your state or local bar association. http://bit.ly/NGDHLI. They can provide you with the real contact information for a lawyer in your area.
- Lawyers, if you spot a suspicious use of your name and/or law firm, immediately report the incident to local authorities, your state bar, http://bit.ly/Vkzcaj and the FBI at the Internet Crime Complaint Center. http://www.ic3.gov/default.aspx
- For More Information: For updates about the FBI’s investigation into the lawyer impersonation scam, please see the “E-Scams and Warnings” section of FBI.org. http://1.usa.gov/Ulqn21