Scammer pretending to be lawyer targeting people with insurance payout

Investigators

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – A scammer masquerading as a lawyer with a real law firm is targeting people saying he has a multi-million-dollar payout from an insurance policy that he says you are owed. 

This scam originates via fax. It’s a letter saying you are the beneficiary of a $13 million accidental death insurance policy from a relative of yours who died nine years ago. 

“They’re after your money, your assets and your trust,” said Mykolas Rambus, the CEO of Hush, which is a company specializing in digital privacy protection.  

The letter from the scammer uses the name and address of Doucet Droit, a real law firm based in New Brunswick, Canada. The legitimate address is where the reality ends.  

The sender claims he’s lawyer Phillip Mann, but he doesn’t work for the real Doucet Droit law firm. 

He also lists a phone number in his letter that’s different from the one listed on the firm’s website. 

Consumer investigator Steve Sbraccia repeatedly called the number for Phillip Mann at different times over several days, but always, got a recording asking him to leave a message. However, the user’s mailbox was full and would not accept messages. 

The automated message is a tip-off that things are amiss. 

“That’s the first indicator that the phone number is off, or has wrong digits,” said Rambus. 

The domain address Mann uses on scam letter is also wrong. It’s a dot com. If you look on the real firm’s website you can see the difference, their domain address is a Canadian one. 

The scammer also offers a Gmail mailing address in his letter to contact him. That’s another clue that it’s fake. 

“Is the firm sending you something that requires a Gmail response?” said Rambus. “It needs to be from that law firm’s domain, not a letter or two different, but the exact email address.” 

The letter CBS 17 received from the fake lawyer isn’t the only one from him out there apparently. 

The real Doucet Droit law firm posted a warning on its website about the scam saying people had been calling them about $13 million. The firm says the letter is not from them and they’ve notified authorities. 

Even if this letter has been debunked by the real law firm, security experts say fake lawyer scams are proliferating. 

“It’s a business like any criminal enterprise that continues to grow and show no signs of abating,” said Rambus. 

The phony death benefit letter isn’t the only fake lawyer scam out there. 

Criminals are using many different ploys ranging from fake trust accounts to phony debt collections. 

To learn about the different lawyer scams out there, click here. The site explains how they work and what to watch out for. 

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