Published on February 20, 2014
Lawyer Scams and How to Avoid Them: Dan Pinnington’s Show notes Ride the Lightning podcast Feb 4, 2014
Europe UK: 43 Germany: 43 France: 14 Spain: 10 Holland:16 Italy: 17 Croatia:2 Bulgaria:3 Ukraine:7 Turkey:4 Slovakia:5 Finland: 7 Norway:3 Sweden:3 Poland: 6 Portugal: 9 Czech:3 Cyprus: 5 Hungary: 3 Romania: 6 Iceland:2 Belgium: 8 Denmark:2 Russia:1 Macedonia:1 Lithuania:2 Austria: 3 Switzerland: 9 Greece:1 Serbia: 2 Bosnia:1 Ireland: 7 Luxembourg: 4 Estonia: 1 Monaco: 1 Latvia: 1 The Americas Mexico: 15 Argentina: 9 Panama: 2 Barbados: 3 Bahamas: 5 Virg. Isles: 5 Puerto Rico: 21 Chile:3 Costa Rica:4 Uruguay: 6 West Indies: 6 Venezuela: 4 Dominican: 6 Trinidad:2 Jamaica:1 Ecuador: 4 Bolivia: 2 Colombia: 2 St. Maarten:2 Caymans:1 Brazil: 4 Nicaragua: 2 Guatemala: 2 Honduras: 1 Belize: 1 Middle East & Asia Fr. Polynesia:2 Bali:1 Malaysia: 4 Hong Kong:1 India: 4 Fiji: 2 Nepal:1 Philippines: 5 Japan: 2 Indonesia:1 Pakistan: 2 UAE:1 Micronesia:1 Lebanon:1 Saudi Arabia:1 Thailand:1 Israel: 3 Nepal: 1 Guam: 1 Cambodia: 1 Egypt: 1 Africa Nigeria:1 Congo: 2 Egypt:1 Zimbabwe:1 South Africa: 3 Malawi: 1 Ethiopia: 1 Antipodes Australia: 30 New Zealand: 4 Where emails to email@example.com originate* *based on approximately 6,800 reports emailed to us from January 2011 to December 2013 8 2 (41% Ontario, 5% rest-of-Canada, 48% USA, 6% overseas) 2 3 96 57 8 79 23 2,858 101 44 10 19 37 16 7 40 604 72 Hawaii: 26 46 8 20 58 34 6 62 3 31 30 8 114 (NJ) 45 (DC) 3 118 144 62 31 101 20 62 229 105 8 50 88 35 16 36 110 297 2 4 53 314 102 (MA) 17 (NH) 33 (CT) 10 (ME) 5 (DE) 51 (MD) 11 (VT) 16 (RI)
Sample fake ID documents
Sample fake passports
Sample fake documents w
Sample documents • A huge collection of fake IDs, documents and cheques given to lawyers by fraudsters: http://avoidaclaim.com/?page_id=2395 • Collaborative Law Participation Agreement fraud documents – Collaborative law participation agreement: http://avoidaclaim.com/wpcontent/uploads/2011/08/Masaru-Collaborative-Agreement.pdf – Divorce decree: http://avoidaclaim.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/MasaruDivorce-Decree.pdf – Settlement agreement: http://avoidaclaim.com/wpcontent/uploads/2011/08/Masaru-Settlement-Agreement.pdf – “I’m sorry, I’m paying” letter http://avoidaclaim.com/wpcontent/uploads/2012/02/Brewer-cheque-cover.jpg
Sample documents (cont.) • • • • • • • • Payment receipts http://avoidaclaim.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/ChaoPHILIP-RECEIPT1.jpg Verifications of identity http://avoidaclaim.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/DLCSolicitors.jpg Company registrations http://avoidaclaim.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/DVTTRADING-LTD.-REGISTRATION.jpg Invoices http://avoidaclaim.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/Liu-Lankominvoice.jpg Bank statements http://avoidaclaim.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/Kazuhiroproof-of-funds.jpg Powers of attorney http://avoidaclaim.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/LiuLankom-POA.jpg Commercial letter of agreement: http://avoidaclaim.com/wpcontent/uploads/2012/06/Burger-agreement.jpg Signed retainer agreement: http://avoidaclaim.com/wpcontent/uploads/2012/04/Zimmerman-retainer.jpg
Sample fake checks
Examples of multiple contacts • Sample of a long, detailed back and forth email conversation with a fraudster http://avoidaclaim.com/?p=3052 • Another ongoing fraud conversation, this one with a voice recording http://avoidaclaim.com/?p=1780
The common red flags • Initial contact email is generically addressed (e.g., “Dear attorney”) and BCC’d to many people. • The name in the sender email address and name in the body of the email are different. • Sender email address is different from email address mentioned in body of the email. • Client uses one or more email addresses from a free email service (e.g., Gmail,MSN, Yahoo!), even when the matter is on behalf of a business entity.
The common red flags (cont.) • Client raises issues of conflicts or payment of a retainer. • Domain name used in personalized email address or website was recently registered (check at WhoIs.net). • IP address in metadata of email indicates sender is in a geographic location that is different from where he/she claims to be. • Client is new to your firm. • Client is in a distant jurisdiction.
The common red flags (cont.) • Client shows up and wants the matter completed around banking holidays. • Client says they prefer email communication due to time zone differences. • Client provides only a cell number. • Client is in a rush – and pressures you to “do the deal” quickly. • Client and others involved don’t seem concerned if shortcuts are taken.
The common red flags (cont.) • Client is willing to pay higher-than-usual fees on a contingent basis from (bogus) funds you are to receive. • Despite the client stating a lawyer is needed to help push for payment, the debtor pays without any hassle. • Cheque or bank draft arrives at your office in plain envelope and/or without covering letter. • Cheque is drawn from the account of an entity that appears to be unrelated (i.e., a spousal arrears payment from a business entity).
The common red flags (cont.) • Payment amounts are different than expected or change without explanation. • Client instructs you to quickly wire the funds to an offshore bank account based on changed or urgent circumstances – E.g., health issues, sick child • Some or all of the payment is going to third party that appears unrelated to the matters.
Due diligence on a fraudster • Google – Crosscheck/verify names, telephone numbers, email addresses, message text, URLs etc. – Search text with double quotes – Check addresses on Google Maps – Google image search • Verify ID is legitimate – Local lawyer, online search or pixelization • Visit property • Check domain registrations (whois.net)
More information on fraud • Check confirmed names of fraudsters and see samples of real messages and documents from fraudsters on the AvoidAClaim.com blog • Use LAWPRO’s Fraud Fact sheet to educate your firm staff and lawyers about these frauds and the red flags to watch for • Report suspicious matters to firstname.lastname@example.org • See more info on fraud at www.practicepro.ca/fraud
Contact info Dan Pinnington Vice President, Claims Prevention & Stakeholder Relations LAWPRO, Toronto, Ontario (416) 598-5863 or 1-800-410-1013 email@example.com LinkedIn: Dan Pinnington Twitter: danpinnington Google+: Dan Pinnington
For more info: lawpro.ca titleplus.ca LAWPRO TitlePLUS Home Buying Guide lawpro.ca/excess @lawpro @practicepro @titlepluscanada practicepro.ca LAWPRO LAWPRO staff
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