The latest version of the e-mail/forged bank check scam targeting lawyers involves scammers posing as potential clients seeking to collect back child support or alimony. Some of these say they have already worked out an agreement, but want the lawyer to process the check for a healthy share of the proceeds. Of course, any time someone wants to pay you five figures to serve as a check-cashing service, your internal "too good to be true" alarm should go off.
Many lawyers are not aware of how long it takes the banking system to recognize and notify depositors of the forged checks. The scammer just hopes they can convince the lawyer-victim to wire out the money before getting the news that the check is worthless (or maybe now much worst than worthless.)
As a service to its members, the OBA has scheduled a free webcast on this topic on December 15, 2009 at noon. While you may think you understand how this works, are you sure everyone in your office does? We anticipate more variations on this theme. OBA members can enroll now online for this free webcast.
I think even replying to the e-mail may have generated a FedEx delivery of the check, figuring the scammers may still catch a phish. Several local lawyers here are holding the checks. Alabama Bar Association Assistant General Counsel Samuel S. Partridge even managed to snag one after his phone was answered "Alabama Bar Association." (See illustration.) Read his story here.
One of the easy tip-offs is that the e-mail will refer to your jurisdiction or your city, but not by name. It would be way too much trouble to customize them with a reference to specific city or state. Don't get scammed. Enroll for our free webcast.