Oct 16, 2023

Protecting Your Law Firm From Fake Leads and Lead Fraud

Posted by : ZeroRisk Cases Marketing

Mikal Watts, of Watts Guerra, presented at the Mass Tort Made Simple conference in Las Vegas on “Client Acquisition, What You Need To Know About Protecting Your Law Firm”.

I applaud Mikal for bringing to the attention of law firms practicing mass tort litigation and legal marketing firms (and it applies to all Personal Injury law firms) the unscrupulous methods used by fly-by-night lead generators and case acquisition firms.  I was very surprised to see some of the big agencies listed as participating in this same type of scheme.

It all makes sense now.  I didn’t understand how my agency kept getting underbid on mass tort and MVA case acquisition quotes.

I also should say that at times we had issues with lead fraud and fake leads.  Our reaction was to create a compliance program to weed out the fake leads and fraudulent leads.  We continue to fine-tune the program as better technology is developed and better in-house training of intake specialists and compliance staff.

Know Your Partners, Know Your Lead Sources

We have partnered with a premier intake center, located on Long Island, New York.  I have worked with them for years, providing quality signed cases to our attorney clients. Have we been 100% successful?  No, it isn’t possible with the technology and human resources available.  However, we strive to better train our intake and compliance staff to catch the fake leads and lead fraudsters who are attracted to getting a piece of the compensation offered for an ailment or condition they don’t have.

Ultimately, the staff is the best filter for sniffing out fraudulent leads.  We train our staff to make judgment calls based on their training and education. And our staff is rigorously educated on the particulars of the campaigns to help weed out these fraudsters on the call.

THE PROBLEM-Fake Leads and Lead Fraud

Let me distinguish between fake leads and lead fraud.  Mr. Watts focused on fake leads in his presentation.

A key problem is that lead generators don’t necessarily adhere to ethical restraints that restrict attorneys when recruiting clients and a lack of transparency.  Many lead generators aren’t transparent to both attorneys and claimants. For example, some offshore call centers have used data mining to target people individually.  They may lie and promise certain settlement amounts, enticing a lead to sign up.  In addition, to increase the reach of their efforts to sign up potential victims, attorneys and their marketing agents or lead generators use automated technology to place thousands of calls to potential claimants who have not opted in to receive calls.  Among other methods, many lead generators use cold calls to solicit prospective clients, in violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, a federal statute enacted in response to public outrage about intrusive, nuisance telemarketing practices.

Fake leads can result from:

  • The call centers may not be properly vetted and may not have the necessary skills and experience to generate quality leads.
  • The call centers may use unethical or illegal methods to generate leads, such as cold calling or using fake profiles.
  • The leads may not be qualified and may not be interested in the services that the law firms are offering.

Lead fraud or a “FILE AND EXTORT SETTLEMENT” can occur when someone signs up for a mass tort lead without having a legitimate claim. They may do this to get money from the law firm or the lead generator, or they may do it to sabotage the law firm’s case.  Unscrupulous people sign up on TCPA-compliant webforms, receive calls, and then sue the law firm and/or call center for TCPA violations.  We call them Serial Litigators. 

Lead fraud is a serious problem, but it is one that can be avoided. By taking the necessary precautions, law firms can protect themselves from this type of fraud and ensure that they are only working with legitimate leads.

We ourselves have fallen victim to both lead fraud.  There I said it.  No lead generation firm or client acquisition agency is perfect.  The difference is, that when it happens, we take the position to indemnify our attorney-client, negotiate with the serial litigator, and pay the price to keep our attorney-client safe.  We have found that most of the serial litigators are looking for a quick payout and really don’t want to litigate against a law firm.

As a responsible client acquisition firm, we have taken further steps to ensure we are protecting our attorney client’s liability as well as ours for false claims.

We use TrustedForm and Jornaya, which provides the highest standard for independent proof of consent.  TrustedForm provides unbiased third-party documentation of consent and real-time actionable insights about the leads we are acquiring.

TrustedForm provides unbiased third-party documentation of consent and real-time actionable insights about the leads we are acquiring.

  • Legal Protection
    • Verify and document consent for compliance with regulations like TCPA, CASL, etc.
  • Fraud Protection
    • Verify we are receiving authentic leads from interested consumers.
  • Brand Protection
    • Verify our marketing brand is being presented properly and leads are coming from our approved sites.

Our TrustedForm certificates provide unbiased third-party documentation of consent. This proof of consent can protect you in the event of litigation while giving you confidence that your signed claimant has asked you to contact them. TrustedForm holds TCPA certificates for up to 5 years.

All potential claimants responding to our marketing come into a US-based call center to get legal help.  We do NOT make cold calls nor use illegal methods to solicit calls.  Outbound calls are only made in response to inbound requests from potential claimants.

All our advertising is TCPA compliant and pre-approved by our attorney clients.

When the need arises, we work with partner vendors who are fully vetted and must comply with all our in-house compliance processes.  They are monitored daily for compliance.

During the Compliance call, the Compliance Specialist emphasizes the name of the law firm that will contact them directly.  The Compliance Specialist provides the phone number of the law office to make sure they will answer the call.

Each individual lead is checked in several ways:

  • Address verification
  • Criminal background
  • We use IDology- a real-time and on-demand identity verification and fraud prevention solution.  It is an AI-driven fraud detection protocol, a KYL-Know Your Lead program. This is a first in the legal industry and emulates what the SEC requires of financial institutions. It provides a multi-layered approach that ensures we have more inclusive ways to verify leads— quickly, easily, and automatically.
  • To help protect against lead fraud, we scrub all our inbound and outbound leads using our Scammer ScrubTM trusted cloud-based defense against serial plaintiffs and “lawsuit mill” litigators who target and entrap law firms and lead generators for TCPA (Telephone Consumer Protection Act) violations. The software identifies serial TCPA plaintiffs and serial litigators while running wireless, VoIP, and DNC (Do Not Call) list scrubs and helps us maintain TCPA compliance.  The software is updated in real-time from original court documents and the National DNC list.
  • We run our proprietary software to check if the lead is represented by another law firm. This software was developed in-house to help alleviate the dual representation issues that have become prevalent in our industry.
  • All calls are recorded at each level of contact and provided to the attorney as part of the package.
  • Digital signatures of the required documents are provided and tracked.
  • We obtain wet signatures on all the documents. Our nationwide third-party notary service returns a full document package to our office that includes pictures of the notary’s state or federal ID, the claimant’s legal state or federal ID, and the notarized wet-signed originals of the attorney’s documents.  If applicable, we get photos of any medications the claimant is prescribed.


  • Reduce or eliminate Fraud
  • Reduce or eliminate Fake Leads
  • Reduce or eliminate Dual Representation
  • Eliminates ID Theft
  • Higher Settlements

Will all cases be compensable?  No, but our goal is to reduce lead fraud and fake leads as much as humanly possible, aided with the latest technology.  We will continue to add barriers to fake leads and lead fraud as technology advances and through continuous training of the intake and verification staff.

The initial cost is higher than from lead generators and client acquisition agencies using overseas call centers, but the final cost of acquisition will be lower, your firm will be protected from fraud claims, and we will be friends.

Edward Lott, Ph.D., M.B.A.
ZeroRisk Cases®
Call 833-ZERORISK (833-937-6747) x5

Protecting Your Law Firm From Fake Leads and Lead Fraud
Article Name
Protecting Your Law Firm From Fake Leads and Lead Fraud
The initial cost is higher than from lead generators and client acquisition agencies using overseas call centers, but the final cost of acquisition will be lower, your firm will be protected from fraud claims, and we will be friends.
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ZeroRisk Cases, Inc.
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