The New Jersey State Bar Association is alerting its members and the public about a scam email campaign targeting attorneys and law firms, typically involving a prospective client looking for help with a collection or similar matter.
Banking officials notified the state’s largest lawyers group of the scam, which targets attorney trust account funds.
Banking notified the bar association saying it is an ongoing industry problem.
While there have been variations of the details, the way the scam plays out is consistent:
An attorney receives an email from a potential client, usually from another country seeking local representation. The sender asks for assistance with a matter that requires the receipt of funds into an attorney’s trust account. If the attorney or law firm agrees, funds that appear to be legitimate, sometimes even by way of a bank check, are transferred. The client then requests the attorney or firm hand over the money that has been deposited into the trust account. It is later revealed that the original check was bogus.