Attorneys: Be extra-vigilant for scams targeting lawyers

Update (4/25/2012): Today we received a report from a firm in Houston regarding a scam that has apparently targeted at least six law firms. Please see the comment from Ted Tredennick, below, for more information.

Update (11/15/2011): We have received reports of persons impersonating law firms in the Houston and Dallas areas. These persons are purporting to be from the law firms and are aggressively demanding payment on debts. If you encounter this situation or tactic please contact the White Collar Crime and Public Integrity Section of the Texas Attorney General's Office.

Update (9/6/2011): We received a report from a non-lawyer in Illinois who received a call from Michael Jones at (512)651-3635 who purported to be an investigator with the State Bar of Texas. He had the person's social security number and told her she had defaulted on an online loan, had to be in court the next day, and would be arrested if she did not pay $250.

Update (7/27/2011): At least two local bar associations report that scam artists are calling members and asking for dues payments. We have received reports from the Tarrant and Lubbock County bars.

The callers say they are "from the bar association" and that the attorney's bar card is expiring or that membership dues must be paid immediately. According to one report, the caller promised a free section membership with dues renewal.

These are not legitimate calls from any bar association. Do not provide credit card information if you are called and asked for a dues payment.


Texas attorneys should be extra-vigilant regarding potential scams involving fraudulent checks or wire transfers. These scams are increasing in sophistication, sometimes involving innocent third parties who seek legal services at the request of a scam artist.

The bottom line is this: Never issue a check from a trust account until deposited funds have been collected.

Recent scam scenarios include:

  • unsolicited email requests for legal help collecting money or judgments, sometimes apparently coming from actual professionals whose identities have been stolen
  • a real estate transaction for an overseas client (whose identity was stolen by a scam artist) involving an innocent third-party realtor
  • impersonation of law firms by scam artists who issue bogus checks and attempt to charge a fee for the checks to clear
  • a bogus check received by a law firm, purportedly for payment regarding representation of an inmate
  • impersonation of a lawyer and law firm by a scammer "collecting debts" under the attorney's name

Again, be vigilant and do not disburse funds from your accounts until underlying funds have cleared your bank (and not simply been made “available”).

Cases involving bank fraud are investigated by the Secret Service. If you are targeted, contact an office in your area. Internet fraud should be reported to the Internet Crime Complaint Center.

If a scam has targeted you or your firm, please leave a comment below describing the scenario or tactics the scammer used.

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Comments (44) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
J. Meyers - August 14, 2014 4:42 PM

I recently was contacted by someone in the UK re: a breach of contract action against some homeowners in Oklahoma City. The callers name was "Micheal". He claimed to be owed $250,000 and wanted to have the check sent to my office for forwarding to him in England. We called the corporate offices for his architectural firm in London and heard a voicemail stating that we had called a "magic jack" telephone line. I sent the gentleman an email stating that we would not represent him. Cannot imagine that too many attorneys would fall for this trick though.

Rodney Handel - March 25, 2013 12:41 PM

Please be advised: Fraud alert

We received an inquiry from Edward Scholes, Managing Director, J&A Mcdougall ltd in the United Kingdom claiming that he had a breach of contract case. He sent us a copy of the “sales contract” between Lowe’s Companies, Inc and J&A Mcdougall ltd. Scholes provided a copy of a series of emails allegedly between he and Lowe’s Companies, Inc. for the purchase of generators.

We sent a retainer agreement for signature and requested a retainer for our services. The retainer agreement was signed and within a few days we received an email from Scholes indicating that Lowe’s acknowledged the debt and was willing to pay the amount due. Because Scholes had contracted with our firm he requested that Lowe’s sent the cashier’s check directly to our firm.

One week later a cashier’s check for $489,650 arrived. Scholes asked that we copy the deposit slip and forward to him. The check looked legitimate but the circumstances were simply not believable. I withdrew my representation and did not attempt to cash the cashier’s check.

Jeffery J. Davis - June 13, 2012 1:15 PM

Scam. Several months ago, I had a gentleman call me about an accident he was in. He was referred to me by a good friend who says this was a referral from a former client. He claimed to have been in an recent accident before going to pick up a relative from the airport. His niece was reported to have been seriously injured and he was her legal guardian and he had probate info with judges and court personnel info that was accurate. He wanted to meet with me at LBJ hospital and get signed up and requested I bring a camera for him so he could photograph his niece whose foot was broken at the hospital. He represented the car was hers and she had $5000 in PIP and the other vehicle was a commercial delivery truck (he told me it was a Dr. Pepper truck over the phone then changed it to another corporate company later). I agreed to meet him that afternoon at LBJ (in which I did). After a few minutes, I called the office to run his information through a database to insure he was who he said he was and we received no hits. He is a scammer that goes by the name "Johnny" and I have heard he has done this to several other firms. This seems to be the same story as Greg Stewart's posting in the July scams above. Thanks for posting this Greg!

Ted Tredennick - April 25, 2012 2:16 PM

Please be advised: Fraud alert

We received an inquiry from someone in the United Kingdom claiming that he had a breach of contract case. He sent us a copy of the “contract” between Permanoid Limited and Karman Industrial Technologies, a copy of a series of emails allegedly between the President of Permanoid and the CFO of Karman, as well as a copy of a bank transfer from Permanoid to Karman Industrial Technologies.

Our firm called the general counsel at Karman Industrial Technologies. We were told that we were the sixth law firm that has called him to verify the legitimacy of this case. He has looked into the case and found that although the names of the people at Karman & Parmanoid are legitimate, the transaction never occurred. The email address from which the series of emails were allegedly sent were phony. The bank account that the transfer came from is a fake account.

wontbescammed - December 7, 2011 5:32 PM

also got a call from this Michael Jones clown and reported here:

these fake debt collector calls are increasing in numbers, my friend is in the SFPD and says it's on the rise since the economic crisis

Alan - October 11, 2011 12:31 PM

Hi Counsel,
My name is Mark Duga of Orek Vision and I am requesting the services of your firm on a breach matter with Timothy Mclead in the amount of $423,306.00.Please respond if this is something your firm can handle for me.

Best Regards,
Mark Duga

Company name:OrekVision
Address: North York Newtonbrook,
Ontario, M2M 4M7
Tel: 1-905-781-6684

David Groom - September 19, 2011 2:56 PM

I was contacted by a person claiming to be British. It was done by email. He returned a signed fee agreement but did not pay the retainer. One week later a check for $490,220 arrived. The check looked legitimate but the circumstances were simply not believable. Upon calling the issuing bank, I was told it was not a legitimate check. My bank turned it over to the property authorities.

Richard H Cobb - September 9, 2011 11:25 AM

When I was solicited by these scam artists I mentioned the state bar warning about their scams and since then I have not recieved any E mails.

Bob Bush - September 9, 2011 9:11 AM

Received an email from Gary Hossa as follows:

Hello Counsel,

I am inquiring about the possibility of your firm representing me in the litigation of a loan matter.

Debtor: Eric Madison
Amount: $288,000.00
Amount 80,000
Balance $208,000.00 plus 7.75% annual interest.

If you or your firm can be of any assistance, please get back to me at your earliest convenience so I can send you related documents.

Your's Truly

Gary Hossa
Tel: 289-888-1869

We replied to it with a fee agreement, we then received the alleged Loan Agreement and a "retainer bank draft" on a Canadian bank. Thankfully, we saw these blogs and red flags went up. After further investigation discovered it is a scam

Theodore Schultz - September 5, 2011 5:27 PM

Just had a scam attempt on my firm. Hired to handle the filing of alawsuit against Seller, who supposedly had taken $900,000. They sent me contract, legitimate looking shipping documnents, etc. They wanted me to act as their representative and file suit if payment was not received by a date certain.

Two days later, I was informed that the company had agreed to pay and would forward me a check in my firmn's name. We would then forward the money to the client.

Problem: if the check is a forgery -- and it almost certainly is -- then it may "clear" my bank and be available, but the forgery will eventually be caught and then, since my Firm cashed the check, it will be liable.

I told the client that I would not accept the check and withdrew representation immediatley. If you get one of these, you *must* do more than just wait for the check to clear. You will end up liable.

Doug Uloth - August 17, 2011 3:49 PM

I was contacted by a George Graham regarding collection of a promissory note. A short response asking for the borrower's contact information drew a reply containing a name and Dallas address for the alleged borrower, and the note in issue. Records available on Lexis show that the alleged borrower lives at the stated address. Mr. Graham gave me an address and contact number in Ontario, along with the first effort to set up a sense of urgency about the strain the unpaid loan was causing his business. When I checked out Mr. Graham's information, his name, telephone number (862 218 0902), and emails with the identical wording, appear in a list of scams maintained on a web site by a Canadian insurance company as part of their risk management initiative. This site identifies the emails from Mr. Graham as part of a confirmed scam, and even post a copy of the passport he apparently provided upon request of Canadian lawyers as part of their anti-fraud efforts. Mr. Graham's scam is well planned, and his emails do not contain the usual stilted language of the fake cashier's check collection efforts seeming to originate in China and Europe, so beware.

Jason McLemore - August 10, 2011 4:28 PM

I was contacted through my craigslist advertising on August 6, 2011, by an overseas ex-wife whose husband had defaulted on a collaborative law agreement by failing to pay $500,000 of a $648,000 payout. She emailed me the agreement which had no information concerning jurisdiction complete with signatures of high-profile family attorneys licensed in CA. Just before I sent the retention agreement, I called one of the attorneys and he confirmed he had never represented the ex-husband.

Martha B-D - August 5, 2011 1:00 PM

I have received two emails from an asking for assistance in two different cases: Gant v. 24 Hour Fitness World Wide Inc., and Eric Gant v. Grand Prairie Ford. Has anyone else gotten these? If they're a scam, what's the story?

John Sirman - July 28, 2011 2:14 PM

Brad and Julio,

The American Bar Association does conduct telemarketing campaigns for membership, which are legit. I've received those calls myself. Just don't provide credit card information to a person or entity you don't know.

John Sirman
State Bar of Texas

Julio de la Llata - July 28, 2011 1:50 PM

I received the exact same phone call as Brad Strottman did, except that I answered the call. The gentleman claimed to be from the American Bar Association then went into a sales pitch about membership and free section dues and trial membership if I didn't want to pay now etc. I thought it was a scam so told him I wasn't interested and hung up, a few hours later I was emailed a link to this blog.

Brad Strottman - July 28, 2011 8:31 AM

After receiving the SBOT email yesterday about dues-paying scams, I was on heightened awareness when I received a phone call today from "Amer Bar", phone number 312-572-6985. I let it roll to the answering machine and they left no message. I did a reverse lookup for the phone number at and came up with "We didn't find any results" for that number. Although it was a Chicago-area number, the prefix was not the same as that of the American Bar Association's Service Center. I don't know if this was a scam but I figured the ABA could afford to have its caller ID fully spelled out, were they to even want to call me.

I returned the call and the answering queue thanked me for calling the "American Bar Association", and to press 1 to be removed from the calling list and press 2 to talk to a live operator. I pressed 2 and was put on hold for 3 minutes with bland instrumental music (flute and oboe) for 5 minutes before I had to leave for an appointment.

Bob - July 27, 2011 3:21 PM

That personal injury scam is as old as I am. They must learn that in prison.

Sheila Stewart - July 27, 2011 3:14 PM

You know it's a scam if the bar is offering something for free!!

Danna Kirk Mayhall - July 27, 2011 3:01 PM

I received an e-mail from a lady in Korea claiming that her husband owed her a significant amount of money and had relocated to Texas. When I inquired as to where he lived in Texas, she replied back that she didn't know where he lived. At this point, I told her I didn't believe this was a legitimate deal and cut off all future communication.

Heather Stebbins - July 27, 2011 1:58 PM

Last week, a caller wanted me to pay my bar dues over the phone and promised a free section membership with dues renewal.

Greg Stewart - July 27, 2011 1:57 PM

Recent Scam. I had a gentleman call me about an accident he was in. He claimed to be referred by a legitimate former client. He claimed to have been in an accident 2 days before going to pick up a relative from the airport. His neice was reported to have been seriously injured and he was her legal guardian and he had probate info with judges and court personnel info that was accurate. He allegedly was seeing a Physical Therapist that day for his injuries which were soft tissue in nature and wanted to meet with me at St. Joseph's hospital and get signed up and requested I bring a camera for him so he could photograph his neice whose foot was broken and pinned. She was reportedly with an aunt in Beaumont. He represented the car was hers and she had $5000 in PIP with Liberty mutual and the other vehicle was a commercial delivery truck. (McCoy's) I agreed to meet him that afternoon. After a few minutes to reflect, "if it sounds too good to be true, it likely is," I called him back and asked some pointed questions. He cut me off before answering and said he would have to call me back. Just beware and never give anyone an advance before completing a thorough investigation. Better yet, don't give advances period if you can avoid it. Rarely a good idea. Scammers always attempt to prey on a common weakness in lawyers , opportunism and greed. If it involves rushed action and decision making, 99.5% of the time you are asking for trouble and should avoid it.

James Fletcher - July 27, 2011 1:55 PM

The Japanese ex-wife scam is a common one. I replied to an inquiry from the Japanese ex-wife to see if it was real or a scam. Ex-husband is said to have plenty of money and will pay if pursued. Ex-wife will ask for an engagement letter and will even provide the mediated settlement agreement. The problem for these scammers is that the mediated settlement agreement is poorly written and obviously a fake. Another tip off is that the jurisdiction of the divorce is always nebulous. They obviously don't have enough time or money to customize the mediated settlement agreements and so-called documentation.

However, real attorney's names are used. These attorneys are either unwitting victims or people whose identities are being used. The scam artist usually says that their previous attorney either isn't interested in pursuing the case any further, and she just needs you to finish the case (or collect the money).

These scams are truly sad, because I just accepted and got a real retainer on a real case from outside the United States (not the above mentioned scam). The documentation is impeccable, and I have talked to the foreign attorney and checked him out thoroughly.

R. David Weaver - July 27, 2011 1:42 PM

Apparently, those of us who have invested considerable time and money to acquire a presence on the internet have unwittingly exposed ourselves to these scams. I, too, regularly receive solicitations to collect debts, divorce settlements, etc. from scam artists (usually overseas). I never received those solicitations until after I developed a website and began online marketing efforts on behalf of my practice.

My firm also has been targeted as a law firm that seeks to collect debts on behalf of an offshore bogus collection agency. I found out only after receiving a call from a person who was contacted by a collector who claimed to be from my office. I later saw on the internet where my firm was listed as an unscrupulous and unethical debt collector (obviously as a result of the conduct of this self-same bogus collection agency).

A lot of unbillable time was expended in clearing up all of this, and we all need to recognize and keep alert for scams that can damage our reputation even without our knowledge or participation.

Susan Barilich - July 21, 2011 5:14 PM

This was the scam, which mimics one of the scenarios described by the Texas Bar.

I was contacted by a Florida broker (purportedly) who had a foreign (Chinese) client who owned a commercial building in my jurisdiction with a tenant who was seriously delinquent in paying the owner rentals. The Florida broker had a WEB presence and was listed by the Florida department of real estate.

I sent the (bogus) Chinese owner my fee agreement by email. It was sent back signed, but without the requested retainer, of course. The owner/client indicated that I 'could take it out of the money I collected' and that he, the (bogus) Chinese owner had already negotiated a partial payment pay-out with the local tenant. A cashier's check, I was told, for the six figure partial payment was being mailed to my office, made payable to my firm and the Chinese owner. When I asked the owner why he would even involve me, if payment was to be so readily forthcoming, he indicated that he could not rely on the tenant's word and also wanted to put pressure on the tenant to make sure the other partial payment for the balance was received.

I did receive a cashier's check for the amount in question and deposited it to my law firm trust account. Needless to say, the cashier's check turned out to be fake. Yes, you cannot even rely on a cashier's check any more, and the bank refused to make the funds available or clear it.
Interestingly enough, the foreign client immediately made demand on me to release the funds to him, when I informed him a hold had been put on the cashiers check by the bank. When the bank refused to honor the check 21 days later, I so informed the foreign client, whom, needless to say, I never heard from again.

I sustained no more than the loss of a few hours of my time, thankfully. But I want to re-iterate the advice about not releasing funds until you are absolutely sure they have cleared and not simply been made available.

I do think that the State Bar is performing a worthwhile service in keeping attorneys informed of these scams, as they are indeed very sophisticated and it is helpful to know about them.

Joshua Heard - July 18, 2011 3:46 PM

Had a situation where a man emailed about a debt here in Texas claiming he was from a British company. Both the creditor and debtor checked out online.

Red flags: the phone numbers I was given in the email for the creditor and the debtor contacts did not match their web pages. Both phone number area codes I looked up online were in Canada. Another red flag, the person contacting me had a thick African accent even though he claimed he was British. Another red flag was the email sent to me was from a domain that did not match the creditor's web domain.

I called the debtor's phone number from the website and they had not heard of the British company or the debt.

I played along and received the cashier's check, from Canada, another red flag since debtor was supposedly in Texas. I took the suspicious check to my bank who said it was a forgery.

My advice is to look for red flags and if you are suspicious, ask the bank to verify the authenticity of the check before depositing it.

Rick Reinckens - July 10, 2011 3:05 PM

Several points:

Point 1. I worked for several years at law firms that did collections and have written extensive CLE materials on "asset discovery and location [of people]", including skip-tracing. I also do genealogy, which involves similar research. Check out,, and It's SCARY how easy it is to find information if you know where to look. "Mother's Maiden Name?" Between Facebook,, other "high school/college alumni" sites and the fact that many women now include their maiden name in their full name it's not hard--e.g., Hillary Rodham Clinton. (Though it's NOT easy to find Social Security numbers.)

Point 2: Contingent fees on collection are routine WHERE COLLECTION ISN'T ASSURED. Where the debtor has agreed to pay and comes up with the money, hourly fees or a flat non-contingent fee are the norm. If ABC is owed $300k and XYZ is delivering a cashier's check, why would ABC be willing to pay a lawyer $10k+ for 1-2 hours of work?

Point 3: Awhile back a case with a counterfeit check was reported in these emails. The lawyer sued his bank on a negligence theory. Unfortunately, he doesn't remember the UCC rule: WHOEVER DEALS DIRECTLY WITH THE FRAUDSTER "TAKES THE HIT". As between the lawyer and the bank, the lawyer is more "at fault".

Susanne Bonilla - July 10, 2011 7:20 AM

I received the same one as Papa Dieye above. The initial contact was made through AVVO.

Penny Phillips - July 8, 2011 12:26 PM

I am also licensed in Florida and the Florida Bar News had an extensive story on this several months ago, including a terrible incident (told in the first person) where a lawyer fell for one of these scams regarding a divorce settlement and paid the money out of his trust account. He waited for the check to clear, not just be available. It was a cashiers check! Once the bank discovered that it was not valid, the bank took the money back from the lawyer and left him financially devastated.

I get several of these suspicious queries weekly and ignore them. He is unable to pay his staff and he has lost the funds of other clients that were in the trust account.

Wayne Isaacks - July 8, 2011 12:07 PM

I have seen all of these including a trusted client brining in potential new clients who need an attorney to help them set up a company to do some "special" homeland security or government oil arbitrage transaction with folks "connected" in homeland security of the CIA or whatever, and they are being cut in to this "deal" and need to collect $300,000 (last deal) or $a million, or whatever, but what they need urgently, because there is no time to set up a company and get a bank account, is to use your trust account to collect and disburse the money, and they will pay you almost any fee to handle it like $20,000, $40,000 , $60,000. And, there are some real stand-up people you can talk to with homeland security, otr a lawyer in Washington, and all they want is your trust account wire transfer info and tax ID number.

At age 59 i've seen so many flavors of these deals it's amazing anyone ever falls for them.
Never talk to them and never give any info. Go get a real client. Best of luck!

Allen Landerman - July 8, 2011 11:27 AM

I received a referral from a collection agency client to help a Mr. Sakatori of Kubota Corporation to collect a past due account. There actually is such an executive with Kubota. I received a cashier's check from Chase. I presented to my Chase banking officer, who explained that the check was counterfeit and I should not deposit it in my trust account. Chase has a very stringent policy with these types of matters, had I deposited it, they would closed my trust account and asked me to leave the bank.
A word of caution, turn the check over to your bank officer first before you deposit the check. Let them determine if its counterfeit first.

M. Hohos - July 8, 2011 11:04 AM

Initial e-mail from scammer:

Dear counsel,

I am contacting you in regards to a breach of business loan agreement with a client in your locality. I provided a loan to the company so that they can meet up with their management and operational obligation during the rough economic climate of last year. I provided the company with an emergency loan of $270,500 with a term of 12 months and fixed interest rate of 7.0%. The repayment period has since elapsed but the company has been unable to finalize the repayment of the loan and have only paid $90,000.00 till date.Let me know if this falls under the scope of your practice so that I can provide you with more information on this matter.

Second e-mail from scammer:

Here are more information's regarding this matter. Below is the information of the borrower. And I know I will pay you a retainer for the job. I found you at website. And after reading your profile, I was very comfortable that you are the best Lawyer I needed that can help me with my matter at hand. See the attached file for the agreement note.

BORROWER NAME: Person's Name Here
ADDRESS: 1224 N Post Oak Road
Houston, TX 77055

The Borrower is someone I have known for 12 years and we have done business in the past without any issues. He is into HEAVY DUTY EQUIPMENT RETAILS AND SALES. So, am I too? And he was the one that have introduced me into this very line of business 11yrs ago.

Like I stated in my previous email, Mr. X owes me $180,500. I loaned him 270,500. And he has only paid me back $90,000.00 and the balance is still outstanding till this day. I am in constant contact with him and even though he has promised to pay the balance, I think the threat or possibility of litigation would serve as a catalyst to make him pay sooner rather than later. Find attached a PDF version of the Loan agreement Promissory note

I am prepared to pay your retainer fee for this service as soon as I get an engagement letter from your firm. I expect this to be a non-litigation collection from the borrower but I am prepared to litigate this matter if he is not ready to pay the balance owed on the loan agreement. Note that this loan is not in dispute

Send me the engagement letter so that we can proceed with this issue with him. I want to also let you know that as an owner of a business, this loan that I gave to X (Who I know very well) has caused considerable strain on my operation capital.

I can be reached at anytime. Time is of the essence for me now.

Sir, let me know how much your retainer will be for I am ready to retain your firm to help me with this very issues of mine.

Please send me your retainer agreement or engagement letter at your earliest convenience.

I am open to either an hourly or contingency fee basis. Please advice which works better for you.

Jennifer Mattingly - July 8, 2011 10:29 AM

My lawyer email inbox has several of these every single day. Sometimes they are purportedly Chinese companies seeking to collect money, sometimes Africans who call me "dear" and sometimes Koreans/others who need help with their divorce settlements. I just delete, delete, delete. Never even open them anymore.

W. E, Benton - July 7, 2011 9:51 PM

I have a friend who has an auto rebuilding and repair operation. His bank called him to verify a fax wire transfer from his account to an intermediary New York bank with the receiving bank in Russia. There was a facsimile of his signature, and the amount was quite close to his balance. Fortunately, he was able to stop the transaction, but he has no idea how these criminals obtained his account number, his signature facsimile (which is not how he signs checks) or apparently his bank balance. The bank changed his account number.

Papa Dieye - July 7, 2011 9:47 PM

I received an email from a Beverly kawashima living in South Korea seeking to collect over $600,000 from a divorce settlement. She even provided real divorce documents from Japan with real Japanese lawyers. I did some research and found out all about her and her scams.

George Renneberg - July 7, 2011 4:48 PM

All of mine have been email solicitations. Please help collect 6-figure sum from debtor. Willing to pay, but need lawyer to hurry the process. The Canadian group prints up good looking but altered checks. The drawees all told me same were phoneys, already paid for lesser amounts. Bottom line, boys and girls, if it seems too good to be true, it is. (Oh, and collect your retainer from the check you'll get from the debtor).

Brock Akers - July 7, 2011 4:35 PM

We were contacted and involved in a scam that spanned several months. A legitimate out of state company, which checked out on the internet, negotiated a fee contract for a collection matter with a local based debtor, which also checked out, telling me they thought the debt was collectable, but that the debtor just needed the extra encouragement to pay that came from a lawyer. Heard nothing for months, and then was contacted to say they had negotiated the deal, and that I should be expecting the settlement check shortly. Sure enough, a $225K check arrives. We deposit it in the trust account, but fortunately were wary enough of this too easy a deal to distribute funds until we knew the check was good. Our banker reported shortly thereafter that the check was actually a forgery. Not just a bad check, a forgery. Information turned over to the Secret Service through our bank. This potential scam was one where the scammer had lots of patience, and never pressured too hard. Beware of quick, easy money.

Todd Zucker - July 7, 2011 4:18 PM

Got a recent scam call from someone posing as a UK architect who wanted to collect the balance of his fees from a homeowner in Dallas. A real architect with real Web site, and a real home in Dallas that had recently been completed per the property records. I fortunately Googled the architect and contacted the number on the Web site and learned that his identity, logo, letterhead and other info had been stolen by the scammer and used to create a phony service contract. Pretty elaborate scam.

Steve Graves - July 7, 2011 3:56 PM

Ditto David Leon. Got multiple calls from folks all over the country who had received calls from a number that turned out to be an Austin land line. They reported that a caller from that number had identified himself as a lawyer from my firm and threatened lawsuits, criminal prosecutions, arrests, etc. in an effort to extract money from them. I can't help but fear that those who called me and learned that we're mostly on the other side of collections cases were the lucky ones, and that some of the less fortunate ones might have sent the bastard money.

Bill Snypes - July 7, 2011 3:51 PM

I was contacted by someone about my yellowpage information and was offered an opportunity to increase my presence in the yellow pages. I declined and a very pushy "manager" with a thick foreign accent got on the phone and started putting the hard sell on me. I think he was trying to obtain my credit card info to "pay" for the extra services. I hung up. I'm pretty sure this was a scam.

Joseph Moreno - July 7, 2011 3:36 PM

I received an email requesting assistance from a Philipino divorcee who needed enforcement of spousal/child support against her husband in the US.

Tom Arceneaux - July 7, 2011 3:17 PM

We've received numerous requests for assistance with delinquent loans, sometimes with apparently real names, but usually without identifying the debtor (although sometimes they do). I have done some reverse telephone lookups or have asked for passport photos and personal information. None of them has checked out.

Mark Murrah - July 7, 2011 3:16 PM

Be wary of false identities on LinkedIn. Several colleagues of mine and I (at various different firms) were "friended" on LinkedIn by someone purporting to work for a foreign company needing help collecting a debt in Texas. I'm not sure how the scam would have played out, but it was clearly a scammer.

M. Bristol - July 7, 2011 3:10 PM

Scam #1 was the Japanese ex-wife needing help to collect spousal support/divorce settlement.
Scam #2 was more sophisticated. It was an email from the UK about collecting against a commercial company 30 miles from my office. $900,000. The UK company was a real company with a real website. The debtor commercial company was a real company. The guy writing the email was fake, though; I found out when I checked the story with the real creditor company.

David Leon - July 6, 2011 11:32 PM

I've had the "bogus firm" collection problem. I received calls from people around the country claiming that I called them seeking to collect on payday loans. I've never heard of these people and didn't practice in several of the states from which they were calling.

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