Thursday, May 17, 2007

Fraud Alert

The most recent edition of "The Florida Bar News" contains a warning that scam artists are posing as lawyers. The scammer claims to have large amount of money that belongs to the intended victim and that they will help the victim recover it for a "finder's fee." They leave a contact number for the individual to call them back. The scammer uses the name of a real Florida lawyer who does not have a telephone listing on the Florida Bar's website; therefore, the potential victim cannot verify the telephone number left for them at the Bar's website. There are not legitimate services that ask for "finder's fees" when they locate a lost heir, for example, but generally lawyers do not operate this way. What can you do to protect yourself? First, go to and at least verify that there is a lawyer by the name of the person calling you by clicking on the "Find A Lawyer" button. Of course, this does not mean that the person calling is really a lawyer. It may be someone using the name of a real lawyer. Next, verify the telephone number by using the yellow pages or one of the web based yellow pages services and doing a web search for the lawyer to see if he or she has a web page or web listing. Most lawyers are not hiding and their telephone numbers can be verified. If you cannot verify that there is a real lawyer with the telephone number given to you, contact the office of the State Attorney General toll free at (866) 966-7226 or file a complaint at .

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