FBI Warning: Lawyers Are Stupid

Posted in Uncategorized on February 23rd, 2010 by bl1y

Two law firms in Honolulu lost a combined $500,000 in an obvious scam that is extremely easy to protect against.  Here’s how the scam works:

Scammer sends a cashier’s check to a firm in an amount that far exceeds the firm’s retainer rate.  The firm then contacts the purported client to say they have over paid, and the client asks the firm to wire a refund.  The firm obliges and then finds out that the cashier’s check is a fake.  D’oh!

So here’s how you defeat this scam: deposit the check before wiring a refund.  You then discover the check is fake and never wire the money.  Easy peasy.

What’s more surprising than the fact that two law firms fell for this is that it appears the scammers only targeted 6 firms.  A full third of the law firms targeted fell for the scam.

[Note: There is a pdf of an FBI warning that has been released, but it is not loading at the moment.  When it becomes available I will update this post with the names of the firms if the FBI report lists them.]

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