Monday, December 09, 2013

Falling for Online Scams: An Attorney Ethics Issue

Good day,

With warm heart I offer my friendship, and my greetings,and I hope this letter meets you in good time.

It will be surprising for you to receive this proposal from me since you do not know me personally.

However, I am sincerely seeking your confidence in this transaction,which I, propose with my free mind and as a person of integrity.

A) It is practically impossible for me to carry out this business alone.

B) You live in a foreign land far away from mine.

This should normally not be a requirement, but when you understand the transaction then you will understand why it is important that you live far away from me.

C) The amount of money involved in this transaction is Fifteen Million one hundred thousand united states dollars (US$15,100,000.00) which is too much for a man of modest means like myself to handle in my country.

Sound familiar? This text is just one sample of the Nigerian e-mail scam in which a person receives the e-mail, is somehow asked to set up an account to allow for money transfer to help his or her fellow man, and subsequently loses all the money due to fraud.

From the ABA Law Journal today, a word of caution: falling for the scam can result in an ethics violation:

"An Iowa lawyer who believed his client was due to inherit $18.8 million from a long-lost Nigerian cousin has been suspended for tapping clients for loans in a failed effort to reap the windfall."