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We continue to receive reports from lawyers who find themselves the target of attempted frauds.
At the client intake stage, it is important to obtain the following information:
- The client’s full name.
- The client’s business name and telephone number (or personal contact information and occupation).
- The organization or business’ incorporation or identification number, place of issue of incorporation/identification and if possible, a copy of the incorporating documents.
- Information on any third party beneficiary or principal the client is representing.
If red flags arise after obtaining contact information, searches and cross checks can often identify problem situations:
- Cross-reference phone numbers provided to you on Canada 411 or a similar directory.
- Search the Alberta Corporate Registry (or similar registry) for the name and address of the organization, including the name of its directors and officers.
- Do an independent verification of phone numbers, company name and address, as well as bank address and phone numbers shown on cheques or bank drafts. Do not rely on contact information indicated on a cheque or bank draft.
Fraud Within Your Office
Frauds may be perpetrated from within your own office.
Ensure appropriate checks and balances are in place for anyone who has access to your accounts or other assets, and undertake thorough due diligence when hiring new employees. If you are concerned that there may be an issue with one of your employees, agents, partners, etc., investigate or seek the Law Society’s assistance.