Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Lawsuit Settlement Scam

The Washington Attorney General's Office warns consumers of a scam involving a lawsuit settlement. The victim gets a letter purporting to be from a law firm. The letter comes with a check (hard to resist, right?) for the recipient's share in a class action settlement. The bounces after it's deposited, but in the meantime, the recipient has sent the "law firm" personal information that could facilitate identity theft and may have sent money too. Consumer Alert: Beware of Cons that Claim You’ve Received Payment for a Lawsuit Settlement, News Release, Nov. 16, 2006.

Con games generally rely on people's dreams of getting rich, as well as their lack of skepticism. (Not everyone lives by the maxim, "If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.") This scam is interesting as a comment on public perceptions of the legal system. The victims believe that there well could be a lawsuit against a company they don't remember doing business with that would have such a big payout that they'd get a good-sized check.

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