March 2020
Beware of Rats! Disruption During Pandemic Brings Out the Fraudsters!
In times of crisis, the great majority of people find deep reserves of kindness, charity, and commitment to community and the common good. Unfortunately, there are also those who view a global crisis as an opportune time to scam and defraud unwitting lawyers who are distracted by business disruptions and concern for their future finances. Please do not let your guard down while you are working from home or remotely and be extra suspicious of potential clients who attempt to engage you for any sort of unusual business deals in the turbulent economy we have now.

Just in the past week, Lawyers Mutual insureds have informed us of scams involving a fraudulent prospective client seeking to purchase dental practices in North Carolina and another one seeking to lease drilling equipment for an oil rig off the coast. Another Insured foiled an attempted scam by refusing a last-minute change of instructions by an impostor-seller who wanted the proceeds of a real estate sale wired to her so she could invest in the stock market quickly while prices were dropping. ( See our previous alert on this issue .) Fortunately, our crackerjack insureds recognized these scams and shut them down before any money was lost.

Make sure that everyone in your firm, lawyers and staff, are on “High Alert” for red flags that someone is trying to scam you. The scammer could come in the guise of a prospective client or impersonating a real client. If you suspect you might be the target of an attempted scam, check out Lawyers Mutual’s Risk Management Alerts and LAWPRO’s extensive blog for scam alerts, AvoidAClaim . Also please call one of our claims attorneys to see whether it is a scam we have seen before. We’ve seen a lot of them!