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Law Firms Fall Prey to Scam

Guess who's getting suckered by one of the latest e-mail scams? Law firms, particularly those that concentrate in debt collection. So says Sheryl Harris, columnist for The Plain Dealer in Cleveland, who reports that law firms across the country have lost hundreds of thousands of dollars apiece in the scam. This one comes not from wealthy Nigerians needing to shelter their fortunes, but from Asian companies seeking a law firm to collect delinquent U.S. accounts. Harris explains:

Once the parties sign a retainer agreement, the company forwards a check allegedly from a past-due account. It asks the law firm to process the check, since it's handling all the company's U.S. accounts.

After the firm deposits the check, it deducts its fee and wires the remainder to the Far East. Then the check is discovered to be counterfeit.

The firm is left on the hook to the bank for the money it spent from the account.

An FBI spokesperson tells Harris that law firms, including one in Ohio, have lost from $100,000 to $500,000 each through the scam. While the initial contacts sometimes come via e-mail, the scammers also use regular mail. And they've done their homework, appearing to know something about the firm or its clients. So before accepting that overseas client, do your homework too.

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on November 27, 2007 at 01:13 PM | Permalink | Comments (6)


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