Alameda County
Bar Association

Know Your Rights: Legal Fraud Related to the California Fires 

Fraud Alert: Watch for and Report Potential Legal Fraud in Response to Recent Fires

Fraud Alert – 欺诈提醒: See the fraud alert translated into Chinese

The State Bar of California is warning the public to watch out for and report potential legal fraud in response to the recent fires across the state. As a result of California’s ongoing fires, many people may wish to seek legal advice for various reasons, including insurance disputes, seeking Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) assistance, employment issues, landlord tenant disputes, consumer fraud, and more.

Important things to know:

California law prohibits lawyers or others acting on behalf of a lawyer from:

  • Soliciting clients at an accident scene, at a hospital, or on the way to a hospital
  • Soliciting clients who, due to their physical, emotional or mental state, may not be able to have reasonable judgment about the hiring of an attorney  
  • Seeking clients by mail unless the letter and envelope are clearly labeled as an advertisement
  • Promising a particular outcome from the legal representation

In the wake of the fires, there is also the risk of victims being approached in person, by mail, email or other means, by people posing as attorneys. Consumers must carefully check that people offering legal services are legitimate and licensed to provide such services.

Source: State Bar of California

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