Don’t be an April’s Fool

law firm scottsdaleAlthough the internet has provided us with a convenient way to communicate and an instantaneous portal to information, it has also exposed us to scammers who use its power to try to separate us from our hard-earned money or phishers looking for our personal information.  Recent breaches of security of companies with large storehouses of information have made us even more exposed.  Even lawyers are not immune. My firm has recently been the target of several schemes to defraud.  We are asked to serve as an escrow in connection with a real estate deal.  A person located in one area, but with a postal address purporting to be in another area provides us with information and a request to help with a real estate deal.  No phone number is given.  Eventually, a check is sent to be deposited.  And then a demand is made for return of the money.  Without checking to see if the check has cleared the money is returned to the supposed depositor and the law firm only later discovers, to its chagrin, that it has been scammed.  (We caught it before we were hurt!) Just as the internet can be a weapon to defraud, it can serve as a shield to protect you.  In this case, we were able to discover the fraud by doing a Google search on the name of the sender and supposed client.  And the end result was a bit of comic relief as you can see from the attached copy of the envelope used to transmit the fake check to my firm. Recently, security breaches at one of the world’s largest email marketing services, Epsilon, resulted in the disclosure of names and email addresses of millions of customers.  You may receive an email asking for personal information, a “phishing” email purporting to be from one of the legitimate stores or enterprises on the enclosed list.  Please be careful and make sure you authenticate that email before supplying any information.  Better yet, don’t supply any information at all. Lawyers are quite adept at sniffing out fraud.  If you suspect it, please feel free to give us a call.  After all, Our Business is Your Peace of Mind®.

Written by Attorney David B. Goldstein,

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