|(Boise) – Attorney General Lawrence Wasden is warning Idahoans about scam fundraisers related to the recent shooting at Rigby Middle School. Victims and their families also should be cautious if they receive legal representation solicitations about filing lawsuits or joining potential class actions.|
Idaho’s charity laws prohibit misleading charitable solicitations and authorize the Office of the Attorney General to investigate and bring legal actions against organizations or people who misrepresent the purpose of charitable donations or who misuse charitable assets. Consumer protection laws help protect Idahoans from deceptive advertising of goods and services, including legal assistance.
“Unfortunately, some people take advantage of tragedies to exploit victims’ pain and capitalize on the public’s generosity,” Wasden said. “I encourage individuals to file a complaint with my office if they become aware of suspicious fundraising attempts or misleading legal solicitations.”
Donors who have lost money or who want to report a scam charity, solicitation, or legal representation advertisement may file a complaint through the Attorney General’s website at www.ag.idaho.gov, or by calling the office’s Consumer Protection Division at 208-334-2424 or 1-800-432-3545 (toll free in Idaho).
Shootings nationwide have prompted scores of lawsuits, including class actions. Within days of these tragedies, victims or their families may be pressured into signing representation contracts.
Attorney solicitations are governed under the Idaho Rules of Professional Conduct for lawyers, which recognize that targeted in-person, telephone, or real-time electronic communications of potential clients can be abusive. Lawyers may not solicit professional employment through such methods unless the person contacted is a lawyer or has a family, friend, or prior professional relationship with the soliciting lawyer.
Written communications soliciting professional employment must be marked as “Advertising Material.” Advertising that misrepresents the sender’s qualifications, the purpose of the ad, or the status or effect of a legal action violates the Idaho Consumer Protection Act and should be reported to the Attorney General.
We have been informed of a scam email circulating in which a request is made by a scammer posing as a District Bar Officer to mail a check or wire transfer money to cover administrative expenses. If you receive an email similar to what is seen below, do not reply or click on any links. Immediately and permanently delete the email.
District Bar Officers of the Idaho State Bar do not make requests for checks to be mailed or funds to be transferred via wire transfer.
Idaho lawyers are reporting that unemployment claims have been filed under their names with the Idaho Department of Labor. Most discovered the scam through emails or letters to them or to their employers. The scammers often have obtained victims’ personal information such as home addresses and social security numbers. Please note the Idaho State Bar does not store, cache, or archive data needing for filing claims with the Idaho Department of Labor.
If you receive a reference to an unemployment claim that appears fraudulent, or if you receive an unexpected 1099-G tax form from the Idaho Department of Labor, please follow this link to report possible identity theft. You might also run a credit check to pick up any unwarranted activity.
Finally, please make note of the “scam alert” feature on the front page of our website. We keep this updated with any scams reported to us that specifically target lawyers, law firms, or courts. We welcome those reports via email.
It has been brought to our attention that several attorneys have received a blank email with the subject line, “I was referred to you the Bar Referral Services. Do advise if your firm handles Litigation Cases.”
The Idaho State Bar Lawyer Referral Service does not process referrals in this way. Please do not click on anything or reply to an email with this or similar subject lines.
We have been informed of another email scam circulating to attorneys, particularly those who serve in some Bar or Foundation leadership capacity. This particular scam is a phishing scam in which the sender appears to be a District Bar or Committee officer requesting payment be sent to him/her via gift cards for veterans due to COVID-19. If you receive a similar email, please do not reply or open any links. No member of Idaho State Bar or Idaho Law Foundation leadership will ever email you regarding a request for payment. See the example below:
We have been informed of another email scam alert circulating to attorneys, particularly those who serve as District Bar Officers. This particular scam is a phishing scam in which the sender appears to be the District Bar Officer request payment be sent to him/her via overnight mail. If you receive a similar email, please do not reply or open any links. District Bar Officers will not ever email you regarding a request for payment. See the example below:
We have received a report of a scam currently circulating. An attorney will receive a scam email seeking representation to draft a purchase and sales agreement for a boat sale. The Idaho company they are claiming is making the purchase is in fact an Idaho company, however the email is not legitimate. If you receive an email similar to this, delete it immediately without opening the attachment or responding. This scam originally began circulating to target Texas attorneys. You can read the full synopsis on the State Bar of Texas’ Blog along with a sample of this scam email.