What Can People Do to Avoid Falling for a Fake Lawyer Scam?
I’m Katelyn Holub, an attorney focusing on personal injury law in northwest Indiana.
Welcome to Personal Injury Primer, where we break down the law into simple terms, provide legal tips, and discuss topics related to personal injury law.
Today’s question comes from a person who called to say “I hired a law firm and found out later that it was a fake law firm, what can people do to avoid being scammed by a fake lawyer through a fake website?”
Well, unfortunately this is becoming a problem across the US.
Several times a week we get people calling us about being ripped off by a fake lawyer or law firm. Yes, I did say fake.
Apparently through the power of “cut and paste” websites these “want to be” lawyers have convinced people to hire them.
One caller said she shelled out hundreds of dollars just to tell her story. And, they wanted even more money to start her claim.
Another caller revealed he had given someone he thought was a real attorney, his credit card number only to be swindled out of thousands of dollars. He then had to spend countless hours trying to rescind all the bogus charges racked up on his card.
A caller just the other day said the firm they had thought they “hired” had the name of a once legit firm out of New York that had filed bankruptcy so she thought the person she hired was a legitimate attorney. She had lots of phone calls. Never signed anything though.
You might be thinking, “why didn’t these people do their due diligence?” Why didn’t they check these attorneys out?
Well, from experience, I can tell you that when we receive a call from someone who has been injured, they are not thinking as a cautious person would think.
For the most part their guard is down.
They are looking for answers. They want direction. They think that if a person has a web-site they must be legitimate.
They want to hear that someone is going to help them, represent them and defend them.
They want to know that the person will be there every step of the way.
Sadly, if the person they are calling gives them that sense of security, that everything is going to be alright, it makes it easier for the scam to occur.
Look up the definition of the word grifter. These fake law firms prey upon people and gain their confidence.
The fact is, that rarely do people ever look for an attorney unless they are facing some crisis, injury or injustice.
Unfortunately, by then, their cognitive thinking is in panic mode and they are scrambling to find someone.
In some areas of the United States the amount of phony legal firms being reported is almost 1 a day.
So how do they do it? How do they convince people to call them?
These con artists create bogus websites, filled with copied images, slogans and even names of real lawyers to give an air of credibility. Some of these sites have even mirrored articles, cases and even testimonials off real law firm sites to add to the illusion of being a legitimate firm.
So how do these fake lawyers make money?
Well, these scammers require up-front funds.
They state these fees are for processing your case, for administration work, or the cost to pull your file.
But once they get the money, they come up with excuse after excuse why your case has slowed down or they just don’t return your calls at all.
Here are 8 tips to avoid being taken by a fake law firm.
1) Meet your lawyer in person at their office. Offices are harder to fake then websites.
2) Never pay an attorney online or over the phone.
3) Ask around, get a referral from someone you know and trust.
4) Dive deep into the prospective lawyer’s online reputation; notice inconsistencies. For example, we have 80 videos on YouTube. We have more videos on our website. We have this podcast. We are in short, everywhere. … Duplicating that kind of a web presence and online reputation would be extremely difficult and probably more costly than what they expect to make off of the scam.
5) Ask a lot of questions, look for answers that make sense.
6) Hire a Board Certified Civil Trial Attorney.
7) Look for an attorney with an honest and ethical reputation.
8) Select a lawyer who can explain the law to you in a clear concise manner. … A fake attorney unlikely would be able to explain the law.
When it comes time to select the right attorney for your needs you need to have the knowledge to choose wisely and get the absolute best representation for your case.
For us, the whole team here at the Law Offices of David W. Holub, we believe first and foremost hiring an attorney should be a matter of trust.
I hope you found this information helpful. If you have questions about your legal rights if you get hurt due to the carelessness of another person, or as a result of substandard medical care, or due to a product defect, construction injury, or any other type of personal injury, please give us a call at (219) 736-9700. You can also learn more about us by visiting our website at DavidHolubLaw.com – while there make sure you request a copy of our book “Fighting for Truth”.