Lawyers and clients beware: Spoof phone calls may direct funds to scammers

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Lawyers should consider warning clients not to assume that caller ID is correct when it shows that a call seems to be coming from their attorney’s phone number, says the State Bar of Arizona in a news release.

Scammers may be “spoofing” phone numbers of attorneys—tricking caller ID into displaying whatever phone number the scammer wants it to display. According to the state bar, when unsuspecting clients answer the phone, they are then told they need to pay additional money to their attorney and are given a toll-free phone number to call. When they call that number, they are told how to send money to the scammer.

The bar advises that lawyers inform their clients of the potential for this kind of scam, and tell them that instructions about sending funds should be checked with the lawyer.

John Phelps, who serves as chief executive and executive director of the State Bar of Arizona, says it is “especially troubling” that scammers apparently are targeting specific attorney-client relationships.

“While this information may be publicly available through court documents, we have not seen it used in this way,” said Phelps in the release. “This recent case involved bankruptcy court and the client was told they needed to pay more money to a creditor. Fortunately, the scam was caught in time and no money was lost.”

See also: “Hackers are stealing closing funds by intercepting lawyer-client email, experts say”

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