Saturday, August 13, 2005

"Identity theft" of an entire British Columbia law firm

Reports of identity theft are pretty common (at least here on the Canadian Privacy Law Blog), but what is the likelihood that the identity of an entire law firm would be stolen? Hang onto your hats folks, but it has happened and lawyers need to be on the lookout for similar scams.

According to Legal Mutual, scammers replicated a British Columiba law firm's website to suggest that the lawyers were "transfer agents" for an offshore investment scam. Doing this would mean that soon-to-be bilked investors would be able to confirm that the supposed transfer agents were, in fact, members of the BC bar. This is scary stuff. Check out Theft of Law Firm Website Behind Investment Scam. Thanks to The Insurance Defense Blog for the link.

From the article:

Theft of Law Firm Website Behind Investment Scam

"... Victoria law firm McConnan Bion O’Connor & Peterson discovered firm photos and lawyer names had been copied from their website ( and used to create a website for a fictitious Vancouver firm called Bion McConnan & Associates.

A company called First Independent Capital Resources, Inc., purportedly from Tokyo, then began soliciting investments in Australia claiming “Bion McConnan & Associates” was its transfer agent for the investment. First Independent’s website listed a number of impressive deals the company had allegedly been involved in and provided a link to the fictitious “Bion McConnan & Associates” website. First Independent had also been circulating a fictitious letter purportedly signed by one of the Bion McConnan & Associates lawyers, confirming that certain items would be held in escrow by Bion McConnan & Associates as part of the bogus deal.

Because the fictitious website used the names of real British Columbia lawyers, anyone checking their status in telephone books, law directories or with the Law Society of British Columbia would see that they were Law Society of British Columbia members....

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