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The Department of Justice recently announced the largest nationwide elder fraud sweep ever conducted. In terms of sheer size, the sweep involves approximately $750 million and over 260 fraudsters, globally.
And as the ABA Journal points out, one group of fraudsters were targeting attorneys in a rather sophisticated way. Not surprisingly, given the scammers' methods and the law of probabilities, the group bilked lawyers out of nearly $30 million.
The attorney scammers basically laid out a fake debt-collection case for a lawyer to send a demand out on, which would lead to a settlement, because the debtor was in on the scam and happy to settle the claim. The scammers were pretty much playing into nearly every lawyer's dream: send a demand, get a yes in response. Naturally, the settlement check would be fake and many lawyers wired funds before the checks actually cleared.
While scammers have been targeting attorneys for some time, this sort of elaborate ruse really seems to burn doubly so. In addition to getting bilked for a few thousand, at least, the lawyers actually spent real time doing real work for a fake client.
The recent DOJ sweep primarily included fraudsters targeting the elderly with scams ranging from mail fraud to check cashing schemes. And the department's press released highlighted one of the new scams, the tech-support scam.
Basically, fraudsters pretend to be tech support workers, and request users either navigate to a webpage or download particular software that will allow the scammer to take control of the target's computer via remote desktop software. From there, scammers can often access nearly everything on a person's computer, and potentially gain access to bank accounts and more, online.
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