The Dangers of Dopplelawyers

Be careful: There may be another you out there, lurking in the non-SEO-optimized back quarters of the internet. Another website profile with your name, maybe even your firm’s name, but with different contact information.

Lawyer impersonation is a serious problem. Many lawyers have been shocked to discover alternate website or contact information from person(s) purporting to be the lawyer in question, offering legal services. At other times, a potential client will contact a firm to speak to a lawyer they believed they had already been corresponding with, only to find that they had actually been speaking with a fraudster impersonating the lawyer and drafting off their reputation for social engineering purposes.

Fraudsters may use these stolen identities to provide an authenticity gloss to phone demand letters, fake settlements aimed at collecting personal information, bad-cheque schemes, and other similar frauds.

In some situations, fraudsters will, essentially, copy-paste an entire website, changing only the URL (by adding a slight modification) along with the contact phone numbers and emails.

Therefore, it may be a good idea to indulge your vanity every once in a while, and put some time into Googling yourself and reviewing what comes up. Do any websites appear on page six of the results that provide incorrect contact information?

If you find someone is using your identity in another jurisdiction, there are limited avenues of response. One option is to query the fraudulent website through a service such as https://whois.icann/org/en, which will be able to provide information on who created the fraudulent site and which provider is hosting it. You can then inform the host of the illegal activity and impersonation and request the site be taken down.

Shawn Erker (@ShawnErker) is Legal Writer & Content Manager at LAWPRO.


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