Scammers posing as lawyers to cheat public

Scammers have taken to posing as senior lawyers to trick members of the public into giving them money or their e-mail account details.

Yesterday, the Law Society of Singapore said that in one instance, the fraudsters used the name of a senior partner in a large law firm to trick a member of the public into making a loan transaction.

They forged a letter using the senior partner's name and law practice without the lawyer knowing or consenting to this, said the society, a body that carries out various functions under the Legal Profession Act including helping the public in law-related matters.

"The fraudsters used that forged letter to deceive a member of the public to transfer $500 to a bank account," said the society. "That money was subsequently lost."

In another case, fraudsters used an e-mail address almost identical to that of a well-known law firm to trick recipients into replying to the e-mail.

Those who did respond might have had their e-mail accounts hacked, said the Law Society.

It also warned members of the public to be alert to these scams and to verify e-mails purportedly from a lawyer by contacting the lawyer, but not through the e-mails in question.

They should transfer funds only when there is a confirmation from the lawyer and should not assume that documents bearing the name of a lawyer or law firm are legitimate.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 15, 2020, with the headline 'Scammers posing as lawyers to cheat public'. Print Edition | Subscribe