A while back I wrote The Fed-Ex and Walmart Scam for Dummies and Lawyer Scams: What makes them all similar? | Lombardi Law Firm. I have identified thirteen bullet points of what makes this and other legal scams successful. Then I identified sixteen bullet points of which lawyers are more likely to fall for this type of a scam. This holiday weekend a firm in the southwestern United States was scammed for $500 and demonstrated one more aspect to help identify when firms are the most vulnerable.
Our man with more than a dozen aliases took another firm's money over the weekend. They are from [southwestern U.S.] and sent the intake director drive seventeen hours to meet with the man in MS. [I know his name but will not reveal it in a blog.] Police report filed with Columbia, MS and they are pulling the surveillance tape for the Walmart pickup (must be Money Gram) to ID the perp. It's a shame because I already know his identity. [Like the Royal Canadian Mounted Police I always get my man!] When I phoned the local sheriff the deputy was uninterested in the case. My guess is that this is heating up and we are steps away from the perp being caught. But let’s get back to educating lawyers about Internet and law related scams.
Here is what to consider: Firms should be careful just before a holiday, because this is a time when firms can be more vulnerable to this type of a scam. Everyone wants to get out early, the call comes in, some lawyers are already gone from the office and the available support-staff have too much to do and don’t have time to follow the standard office protocol. And that is the important point here.
Every office should have an intake protocol for vetting larger potential clients and that protocol should be applied religiously. No exceptions. Remember you are vetting the potential client, not necessarily the case. If the client doesn't provide information that can be verified don't take the bait.
Attorney Lombardi's Note to the intake person. "Don't be too hard on yourself, simply learn by analyzing what went wrong and which emotions interferred with the intake protocol. You aren't the first to have fallen for this and you won't be the last. This is a learning experience and frankly the road trip with your daughter was worth the time spent."