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Thread: Public Warning.-Scammers passing themselves off as Spanish lawyers and law firms

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    Default Public Warning.- Scammers passing themselves off as Spanish lawyers and law firms

    Public Warning.-Scammers passing themselves off as Spanish lawyers and law firms

    Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt - Lawbird Legal Services

    Friday 13th of March 2009

    Foreigners should be well-advised that there are many scammers trying to pass themselves off as legitimate Spanish law firms and lawyers. They prey exclusively on foreigners and are in fact not Spanish themselves. They are mostly Nigerian (lately there's a surge of British and Irish citizens involved too). It is calculated there are over 300,000 Nigerians worldwide scamming people. The golden rule is they never scam nationals of the country in which they live in. So Nigerians located in Spain (Madrid, Málaga and Granada) scam everyone except Spanish themselves. Nigerians are among the best educated elite in Africa and their command of English is often superb.

    Spanish lawyers belong to one of the Bar Associations throughout Spain. There are a total of 83. Every colleged lawyer has a registered number. It is very easy to check in less than a minute if a Spanish lawyer is legitimate i.e. registered to practice Law in Spain (just follow this link).

    Besides, registered lawyers have Professional Indemnity Insurance.

    These fraudsters will contact you by a cold-call, e-mail or letter offering you either of the following "services":

    1.- As the only beneficiary of a Spanish inheritance from some distant (and unknown) relative in Spain that has passed away.

    2.- Offering to recover resale time share deposits in ongoing court proceedings (Reclaim Certificates). They will offer you "group actions" against timeshare companies through cold-calls. Ask them how they obtained your contact details and the details of your timeshare investment. Remember that legitimate Spanish law firms never cold-call potential clients.

    3.- Notifying you that you have won the Spanish Lottery (despite never having played it) as a promotion from the generous Lotto Administration.

    4.- Contacting you regarding using your bank account, in exchange of a commission, for some million dollar bank transfer with origin in some dodgy place in Africa. This is known as the Nigerian Letters.

    5.- Offer to assist in verification and payment of unclaimed funds of which you are the beneficiary.

    6.- Acting as intermediaries in car sales at very reduced prices. They will request you deposit the funds in their lawyer's account.

    Other related links.-

    Timeshare Resale Scams Revealed - Beware of the Bogus Buyers -13th November 2009

    Five property swindles exposed - 26th October 2009

    Careful with Scammers Posing as Spanish Lawyers - 18th March 2009

    Bogus Holiday Club Membership (mostly in Canaries) - 10th March 2009

    Protecting Yourself from Pyramid or "Ponzi" Schemes - 21st February 2009

    Fortuna Estates, Fortuna Land, Oanna Group - 8th January 2009

    The Legal Case Against Fortuna Land - 8th December 2008

    European Mediation Limited - 18th November 2008

    Fraudulent sell of shares from Spain - Boiler rooms - UK FSA's link.

    Is the 'El Gordo Lottery Sweepstake Company' a genuine company? - 13th November 2001

    Lottery Fraud: Yet Another Scam - 24th September 2001

    UK Foreign Office: Lottery Fraud, What to do

    Warning: Avoid Holiday Clubs in Spain

    Timeshare resellers: Be careful! - 23rd August 2001

    Top 10 Scams of 2007

    9 Tips on How to Determine if an Offer is a Scam
    October 17th, 2008 @ 14:10 by admin

    We are receiving a dozen queries every day asking about the legitimacy of certain offer, generally received by email or over the phone after a cold call. Unfortunately, we cannot analyze case by case, and therefore will provide a set of useful hints which will help you evaluate the legitimacy of the company or individual yourself.

    The list below is provided in no particular order:

    1. Is the domain name old enough? By means of a Whois search you can find out when the domain name was registered. If it’s only a few weeks old, be suspicious.

    2. Are they using mobiles? – If the phones used as contact numbers are mobile numbers instead of land lines, it’s definitely not a good sign. In Spain, mobile numbers start by +34 6..

    3. Have you been contacted out of the blue? – If you where cold called, or received an email from someone you don’t know, ask yourself why these people have your contact details.

    4. Are you being requested to pay money upfront? This is the single most worrying point if it comes in conjunction of with one or more of the above.

    5. Are they requesting you a money transfer through Western Union or similar?

    6. Is the offer too good to be true? If the offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

    7. Is the company properly registered? – Although it’s something positive if they can provide you with company registration details, you shouldn’t give this point too much importance. Fraudsters have been registering companies for decades with the sole purpose of deceiving (e.g. dozens of companies where incorporated by fraudsters to conduct the infamous Timeshare Resale Scam)

    8. Is the address for their offices correct? – Not sure why, fraudsters tend to provide you with fake addresses which don’t really exist. Check any of the online street directories and find out if the address provided is correct.

    9. Something strange about their names? Funny names such as “Woley Fernandez” or “Barrister Perez Santos ESQ” are names made up by Nigerians conducting 419 advance fee scams (the terms “Barrister” or “ESQ” don’t exist in Spanish law). Also, fraudsters tend to cite fake organisms such as “The Ministry of Finance” or “The Security Company”.

    10. What others are saying – Use search engines to find information about the company. Try putting the company in inverted comas, and add terms like “scam” or “fraud”. The company or individual you mention might have already been reported online as fraudsters by other people.

    Needless to say, the above list shouldn’t be taken as definitive, nor the absolute legitimacy o illegitimacy of a company established based on one or more of the above points. You can use it, however, to personally evaluate the risk of the transaction.

    My recommendation is that you never pay any moneys upfront if you have been contacted out of the blue. However, if you have to, before doing so always suggest the use of an escrow company (chosen by you) to hold the funds until the product or service has been delivered. If they refuse, I recommend that you back off.

    Always remember; have a lawyer analyze the transaction before making any up-front payments.
    Last edited by Lawbird Lawyer; 06-18-2010 at 11:25 AM.


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