Friday, April 1, 2011

"Invited to be a plaintiff"? Be suspicious.

The California State Bar is spreading the word about grifters sending a "summons-like mailer" that invites homeowners to join a lawsuit against their lenders. The come-on is a bunch of promises that normally cautious lawyers probably wouldn't make, and catch is a request for a $6,000 "donation". One of these things got sent to Luis Rodriguez, a public defender on the State Bar Board of Governors who, apparently, blew a whistle.

The bar journal points to a similar warning from the Cal Dept. of Real Estate in the form of a really pretty darn good critical-thinking primer about fishy lawsuit solicitations in general, but especially about fishy invitations to join class action or similar lawsuits. Maybe the nicest part is to see a public agency expressing faith in the decency and cleverness of scam targets themselves as a source for warnings to others. The primer suggests, regarding too-good-to-be-true offers:
"Check them out through a Google or related search on the Internet. You may be amazed at what you can and will find out doing such a search. Often consumers who have been scammed will post their experiences, insights, and warnings long before any criminal, civil or administrative action has been brought against the scammers."
That's people power, if you like. Good stuff.

[P.S., from the same issue of the Cal Bar Journal: they're setting out to disbar attorney Thomas Pines for encouraging clients to break back into their foreclosed homes and live there again, allegedly thus constituting "a danger both to his clients and to the public".]

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