A New Scam on Lawyers

I was in D.C. this week with my oldest son taking in a Wizards game (they are awful) and seeing the city (which is awesome). While I was out, I got a phone call from someone wanting to speak to me about my client Joe Smith (or something like that).


I assume this is what scammers look like.

The guy was a landlord who had “gotten my email” about how my client was going to be paying his rent out of his settlement. He read to my paralegal the contents of my email to him. The email came from a Miller & Zois gmail account that, naturally, misspelled the name of our firm.

I guess what happened is someone was late on their rent payment and decided to pretend I was their lawyer and went through the trouble of setting up an email account and impersonating me. I should get a therapist and take this up with them in greater detail but, bizarrely, I felt sort of flattered by this. (Of all the lawyers in all of the world, you picked me, Mr. Scam Artist.)

Now, of course, the gig is up but I think the scam served its intended purpose of buying time to avoid eviction.

On a related issue, there have been a number of times over the years that I have been asked to draft an assignment and authorization so that a third party can take out a lien against my client’s case. I don’t think plaintiffs’ attorneys can ethically do it. Why? Well, who do you represent when you draft that agreement? If you represent your client, as I am sure you do, did you make sure to make the agreement as benign as possible to best protect your client? What we do best here is get money for our clients, not craft ways so someone else can get first dibs on their money. The whole thing is a hornets’ nest. I’ve never heard of lawyers having ethical issues arise on this issue. But I’m not going to be the first either.

Anyway, all of you scammers (and non-scammers) out there, enjoy a happy, peaceful and safe Thanksgiving holiday.

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