The Office of Inspector General (OIG) for the Legal Services Corporation (LSC) has learned of a recent scam where someone tried to obtain money from a legal services client as a “retainer fee.” Legal services programs like SEOLS do not charge for services or collect “retainer fees.”
In the recent case, the client received a letter in the mail, purportedly from the legal services provider. The letter contained the provider’s logo at the top and instructed the client to remit payment to the grantee at a P.O. Box that is not affiliated with the organization. The client’s name, address, and case number were included within the letter. The organization believes the client information was gained through media exposure for the case, as well as through information that is publicly available.
The client contacted the program attorney assigned to her case, who informed her that the program does not charge for legal services. The attorney immediately informed the program Executive Director, the state’s Attorney General’s Office, and the local police department. Anyone receiving such a letter should call SEOLS as well as local and state authorities.