Attorneys and their clients have joined the ranks of victims affected by a new scam that attempts to obtain personal and financial information for fraudulent use.
The process is referred to as Caller ID “spoofing." It allows callers to deliberately falsify the information transmitted to Caller ID displays, effectively disguising their real identity. Spoofing is used to trick someone into giving out personal or financial information so that it can be used in fraudulent activity or sold illegally. Most types of spoofing are prohibited by U.S. law and Federal Communication Commission (FCC) rules.
“Spoofers” have disguised themselves as representatives of banks, creditors, insurance companies, and even the IRS. Now, they are masquerading as attorneys. Most recent targets are consumers who have filed, or in the process of filing, for bankruptcy. Recipients of the calls are instructed to immediately wire money to satisfy a debt that supposedly is outside the bankruptcy proceeding. Some consumers have even been threatened with arrest if they fail to wire money to pay the debt. Other scammers simply indicate that additional fees must be paid to the attorney.
Following is an outline of how the scam works:
- The client receives a phone call
- The caller ID shows the number belongs to his/her lawyer
- The client is then given a toll-free number to call
- When the client calls the toll-free number, they are given instructions on how to pay the debt
So, how are the spoofers getting this information? Most likely, they have obtained the client and attorney names/relationship through publicly available court documents.