Lawyer Identity Theft

September 26, 2012

You might think if anyone knows about the threat of identity theft and the steps needed to avoid it, it would be a lawyer. These people spend a living dealing with criminals. However, as a recent article in the Florida Bar News illustrates, attorneys are just as much at risk as anyone else. Florida lawyer Laurie Moss recently reported that she provided thieves with her personal information when providing it for what she thought was a background check for a law firm position in California.

When she showed up to report for her first day at the firm, she found out that the California lawyers did not exist. She does not know who ended up with her Social Security number, driver’s license number and other information. She also fears that whoever it is knows that she is an attorney and the thieves may try to practice law in her name.

One of the mistakes that Moss made was providing her personal information to a placement agency, which did not confirm that the job was a legitimate one. There were a few red flags. The placement agency’s IP address could be traced back to Bermuda and a lot of the language on its website was stolen from another law firm’s site, for two things. The agency also never met with the lawyers in person, of course.

Moss may be in for a hard road since the fake firm got both her personal information and her financial information, provided in order to get her her compensation for the legal work. It would help her if she had made this mistake while signed up for an identity theft protection plan. While she reported the issue to the credit reporting agencies, her bank and the Florida Bar Association, she could face some serious problems down the road.

With identity theft coverage, she could get instant alerts when it’s suspected that thieves are using her information. She could also receive compensation for some or all of the funds needed to recover her identity if it is used in a negative manner. Of course, she could have been more careful about how she handled applying for the “job,” but everyone makes mistakes and that’s why we have people and policies to back us up.