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Legal topics of interest to lawyers and consumers with a Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania focus.

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Its Still a Predatory World.

Posted By Cliff Tuttle | April 8, 2018

No. No. 1,464

Image: antifraudnews.com

One constant reminder that there are bad people out there is the continuous barrage of malware-bearing emails we receive.  Over time they have become more and more sophisticated.  They used to be easy to spot due to misspelling, failure to observe grammar fundamentals, lack of content and other indicators that the author had not worked too hard on the scammy email.  But today, unfortunately, the bad guys are getting better.  So much so, that it is more difficult to identify legit communications, even from those you think you know.

One popular tactic is the phony bill.  It is an invoice from a company you know for something you probably wouldn’t want and definitely didn’t get.  If you want to cancel, of course, there is a convenient link.  Don’t click it.

I get inquiries through AVVO from people who supposedly want a lawyer.  Up to now, the fakers have been easy to spot, but they are getting better all the time.  Many of them are masquerading as companies or banks from a place like Hong Kong,looking for a random lawyer to review a contract or collect a debt “in your area.” Bogus.  But it is only a matter of time before they learn to more convincingly ape legit inquiries.The key, of course, is to never click a link that the inquirer himself provides in a message.  Don’t do it ever, even if the inquiry appears to be safe. Only use AVVO’s link to reply. And of course, don’t even reply to the clearly feloneous ones.

And then there’s the telephone.  I get loads of phony phone calls.  Once upon a time, if a charity like the Disabled Vets called it was probably the Disabled Vets. Now, its probably some scammer and you should always hang up.  I get several calls per week claiming to be Google, some recorded, some live, stating that I am about to lose my free listing (I don’t have one) or some variation of that theme.  They have various creative caller-id’s, including, frequently,  my own area code.   While legitimate callers are deterred by do not call lists, these guys are not.  Gresham’s law.  Bad coins eventually drive out the good.

And then there are the in-person scammers, like the supposed employees of utilities that are trying to get access to your house.  The nice pleasant kid I encountered yesterday had one of those plastic ID cards hanging around his collar.  I didn’t give him any information and quickly called the police.  Then I called the utility.

I told the automated voice that I was calling about potential fraud.  At first, I thought I was getting their attention. But then, they put me on hold and said that my waiting time was 20 minutes. Yes, they tell you in their commercials to call to verify the identity of service people coming to your house and then they put you on a long, long hold.  No wonder door-to-door scamming is a growing enterprise. And then they have the audacity to blame it on those gullible old people.

Was it always like this?  Yes, perhaps, but it is getting worse.  Technology is making fraud a growing industry.





CLIFF TUTTLE has been a Pennsylvania lawyer for over 45 years and (inter alia) is a real estate litigator and legal writer. The posts in this blog are intended to provide general information about legal topics of interest to lawyers and consumers with a Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania focus. However, this information does not constitute legal advice and there is no lawyer-client relationship created when you read this blog. You are encouraged to leave comments but be aware that posted comments can be read by others. If you wish to contact me in privacy, please use the Contact Form located immediately below this message. I will reply promptly and in strict confidence.

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