Scams permeate through all industries, including the legal profession. Recently, the attorney general has learned that scammers are targeting funds in the IOLTA accounts of New Hampshire attorneys. The identified scam targeting New Hampshire attorneys generally takes the following form: 

  • A lawyer/law firm will be contacted in writing by a potential client seeking help collecting money from an employer for a disfigurement suffered in the course of employment.
  • The scammer represents either that they are being pressured to settle with the company or have settled and want help recovering what was promised in the settlement.
  • The scammer will make appointments to meet in-person but will make repeated excuses as to why the meetings need to be rescheduled/cancelled.
  • The scammer will provide a letter that appears to be on the letterhead of a legitimate business that corroborates the scammer’s claims about the injury/settlement.
  • If the attorney is willing to proceed without an in-person meeting, the scammer will represent that he/she wants to make one last attempt to convince the employer to settle/comply with the terms of the settlement.
  • The lawyer/law firm will then receive a check in the mail purporting to be from the employer and will be made payable to the law firm. The check will appear legitimate and may even be accepted by a financial institution for deposit.
  • The lawyer/law firm will then receive an urgent request from the scammer whereby he/she requests that the proceeds from the check be sent via wire transfer immediately. The scammer will claim that the funds must be received by a certain time and will provide an explanation for the quick deadline.

How to Spot the Scam

Attorneys should be aware that they are likely communicating with a scammer if:

  • The client refuses to meet in person or makes appointments to meet in person but repeatedly cancels.
  • The client provides information that is inconsistent over the course of time. (For example, initially claiming they are considering a settlement but later claim that the matter has been settled.)
  • You receive an unexpected check or other form of payment purportedly related to the client.
  • The client insists that settlement funds be sent via wire transfer.
  • The client insists that the settlement funds must be transferred urgently.
  • The client provides documents that don’t look right or appear to be altered in any way.

What to Do If You Are Contacted by a Potential Scammer?

  • Insist that the caller meet you in person. If they refuse to do so, decline to represent the individual and cease future communication.
  • Contact the payor of any unexpected or suspicious checks before depositing the funds into your IOLTA account. Only use contact information that you have independently verified.
  • Do not wire funds from your IOLTA account if requested to do so. Once money is wired it is often not recoverable.
  • Be aware that malpractice insurance may not cover the loss if the money is wired.
  • Report the scam. Reports should be made to the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office by calling 1-888-468-4454 and the FBI by visiting

 Members of the bar who are concerned that they have been contacted by a perpetrator of this scam can contact Senior Assistant Attorney General Brandon Garod at with questions.

New Hampshire Bar Association log "Equal Justice Under Law"