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Duke Law Happiness Expert Targeted by 'Stranded in Foreign Country' Scam

As lawyers, we are, for better or worse, presumed to be fairly intelligent. That's why we're surprised when our own fall for scams like the "company from another country needs help with collections" racket or the "hey I found an envelope with some important-looking documents and I'll bring it to you if you pay for my cab" deal.

But, obviously, it happens. As reported in the ABA Journal this morning, a law professor has been dealing with another common scam. Senior Lecturing Fellow Dan Bowling of Duke Law -- who conducts research in "positive psychology" -- got his e-mail hacked, and the hackers sent out messages to Bowling's contacts claiming that Bowling had misplaced his wallet and all his credit cards while traveling in Scotland for a seminar, and needed a loan of $3,300 to pay his hotel bills etc.

This scam is fairly prevalent, and is accomplished via e-mail, social networking sites and text messages. The FBI has warned against it and the Manhattan DA has been cracking down on the hackers in recent months. 

As for Bowling, he went on the offensive to combat the hackers, changing his outgoing voicemail message to indicate that "the e-mail isn’t legit, although those who are so inclined are always welcome to send money." Maybe he can turn the incident into some kind of lesson for his class on "Well-Being and the Practice of Law."

Posted by Eric Lipman on September 28, 2010 at 10:25 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)


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