The State Bar of California's Ethics Alert on Internet Scam
Counterfeit Check Scams Continue to Target Law Firms
In an effort to keep our clients informed and protected, we would like to call attention to a sophisticated Internet scam that is occurring. The State Bar of California recently issued an 'Ethics Alert' which explains how the scam operates and how lawyers can protect themselves.
According to the alert and Calbarjournal.com, the scam operates in the following situation: a lawyer receives what appears to be a legitimate solicitation email from a prospective client seeking representation in a debt collection matter; a valid cashier’s check, supposedly a settlement check from a debtor, is then sent to the lawyer from a reputable bank; after the money is deposited in the lawyer’s client trust account, the “client” asks that the funds, be wired to a foreign bank; once the lawyer realizes that the cashier’s check was fraudulent, it is too late and the lawyer is left with an overdrawn bank account, State Bar discipline and damage to his or her reputation.
Holly Fujie, then State Bar President, said “the best approach is to ignore such solicitations all together.” She goes on to give a list of steps attorneys should take to protect themselves and their practices.
To avoid falling victim to the scam, we encourage you to read the 'Ethics Alert' in its entirety at www.ethics.calbar.ca.gov.
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