Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Miss. lawyer scammed by corporate identity theft

We often hear about identity theft as it relates to individuals, and some recent attention has been drawn to child identity theft, but the theft of a corporation's identity remains a serious, though seldom-discussed topic. The Mississippi Secretary of State reported today on "an internet scheme with international ties that bilked a Mississippi attorney out of hundreds of thousands of dollars."

The Mississippi attorney received an email from someone purporting to be Robert Larsen of Larsen Fabrics located in the United Kingdom. “Mr. Larsen” claimed a Mississippi company owed money on a contract and was willing to settle. “Mr. Larsen” employed the Mississippi attorney to collect the debt. The attorney was then informed the Mississippi company was prepared to settle. 
A fraudulent settlement check was sent to the attorney, allegedly from the Mississippi company. The attorney deposited the check and wired funds to a Japanese account before the fraud was discovered. The Mississippi company had no knowledge of the scheme until contacted by investigators.
Here's a link to the basic scam e-mail as sent to an attorney in a different state (the comments to the post discuss the variations of the scam).

Few public resources discuss the topic specifically. Professor Susan Brenner wrote about corporate identity theft a few years ago on her blog, CYB3RCRIM3. Also, the Colorado SOS's office has some information about the issue on their website.


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