The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) recently issued a report on a Texas attorney who’s name was being used for fake websites and solicitations. The scammers were using the attorney’s maiden name, former work address and excerpts from her professional bio.
This is not the first time an attorney’s name has been used fraudulently to scam consumers. Last year, BBB reported on scammers using the name of an Austin law firm to attempt to collect money from consumer’s with an alleged outstanding debt.
If you become aware of your name or the name of your law firm being used in a similar situation the FBI suggests you should:
- immediately report the incident to local authorities, your state Bar, and the FBI at the Internet Crime Complaint Center, IC3.gov.
- closely monitor your credit report and bank accounts to ensure that your identity is not the only thing being stolen
If you are a consumer looking for an attorney, BBB advises you:
- Get referrals. Seek a recommendation from someone you trust. Check to see if the attorney has had any complaints filed against them with Better Business Bureau or the State Bar of Texas. Make sure the attorney specializes in your type of case.
- Ask about experience. Take the time to talk with the attorney and ask what type of experience the attorney has in your type of legal situation. Ask for a preliminary outline of how the attorney believes the case should be handled and the time frame for its completion.
- Ask about a fee agreement. This agreement will outline fees, expenses, billing and payments. Find out the attorney’s hourly fee (if applicable) and ask for an estimate of the total fee. Be sure to get all this information in writing.