South Carolina Estate Lawyer: Identity Theft Scam Alert!
November 4, 2011
Every now and again I like to post a warning re: scams targeting lawyers and financial managers. This scam was one that I had not heard about before.
I was recently contacted by a financial adviser/trust manager acquaintance of mine located in another state. He relayed to me that he had recently been contacted by a person who stated that he was a resident of South Carolina, but currently had construction work located in another country. The person said that he anticipated that when the work was finished he would be moving to the state where the financial adviser was located. The person wanted to transfer his mutual funds of several million dollars to my acquaintance’s bank for investment management services.
I was contacted for help in possibly drafting a revocable grantor trust-type document to transfer the funds to, with the bank as the investment manager. When I heard the story it just didn’t seem right to me, why would this person be initiating a transfer of assets while he was out of the country? I think whenever I find out that a potential client is located in another country my suspicion increases. Anyway, a few weeks later my acquaintance informed me that the person who had contacted him was not the person he said he was, but was in actuality an imposter/identity thief who was attempting to have the bank transfer the assets out of the control of the real owner, a real person who actually resides in South Carolina. Luckily, the fraud was discovered before any transfers were initiated.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, it’s a jungle out there. From financial fraudsters and schemers, to marketers trying to sell you useless junk or unethical services, you need to be careful in this business. More and more we see fraudsters and identifty thieves targeting those considered to be sophisticated enough to know better. And sometimes it works. Luckily in this instance it did not.