THE Law Society of BC is reminding people to be vigilant of fraudsters who pose as lawyers and attempt to take money from unsuspecting victims.
The society has recently received three calls about potential scams. Each case involves a fraudster telephoning an elderly person, claiming to be their grandchild. The fraudster says they have been arrested and need money following a motor vehicle accident, or they will be sent to jail. The victim is told to keep the line free because a lawyer will be calling shortly to arrange a wire transfer. A short while later, the so-called lawyer calls and the victim transfers money to the fraudsters.
In one instance, a person reported to the Law Society that her father wired approximately $10,000 to South America. In another, a person reported a loss of $1,800 through a fake lawyer using the name David Byers. There is no lawyer in BC by that name.
To verify if someone is a BC lawyer, take the following steps:
* Look up the lawyer’s name using the Law Society’s online search tool Lawyer Lookup, or call the Law Society. BC lawyers must be licensed by the Law Society.
* If the person is claiming to be a BC lawyer but doesn’t show up on Lawyer Lookup, call the Law Society and the police.
* If the lawyer does show up in Lawyer Lookup, double-check their identity by calling or emailing them with the contact information that shows up on the Law Society’s website. Confirm they are who they say they are, and not just a fraudster using a real lawyer’s name.
* If the lawyer claims to be from another province or jurisdiction, check with the relevant legal regulator.