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Monday, September 12, 2016

We have received multiple reports of an attempted scam using the name “Nathan Silver,” a London-based architect. While this scam is similar to numerous other email based check scams, we have received at least one report of the scammer communicating with the law office via phone call (using a British accent). Further complicating this scam is the fact that there actually is a London-based architect named Nathan Silver. However, we have no reason to believe the real Mr. Silver is involved in any of these scams and he has confirmed to other jurisdictions that his name and contact information have been compromised.

The “debt” to be collected is for architectural design services. The local debtor, as is customary in these scams, pays promptly via cashier’s check delivered to the lawyer’s office via overnight mail (with a local return address). The State Bar has been forwarded a copy of one of the checks (see below), and it is very sophisticated.

Please see the following documents related to this scam:

- Design Services Contract

- Invoices

- Bank Check and Shipping Label

Please be cautious when dealing with any debt collection case initiated by an overseas “client.” You should treat any overseas solicitation of services as a potential scam until you can be certain of your client’s authenticity. Further, any “debtor” who pays quickly with minimal effort on the lawyer’s part should also be cause for concern. Finally, even if you think your client is legitimate, do not disburse upon provisional credit in international debt collection situations. If your client has waited a significant period of time to be repaid, he or she can wait an additional 10-15 days while you let the check circulate through the clearance process. While the State Bar permits disbursement upon provisionally credited deposits, our guidance states that you should be virtually certain the deposited check is going to clear before disbursing against provisional credit. Trust your instincts. Every single time a lawyer has asked me if a certain situation was a scam, it was a scam. If it feels too good to be true, it is.

If you have any suspicions that you might be the victim of a scam or attempted scam, please contact Peter Bolac at (919) 828-4620 or

Filed Under: News Alerts

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