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Are you being scammed?

State bar resources can help protect Missourians from fraud and the unauthorized practice of law

In today’s digital landscape, it’s easier than ever to be duped by individuals claiming they are lawyers. Just type “fake lawyer” into an online search engine, and you’ll find dozens of news stories where victims, thinking they were working with a real attorney, shared personal information—and sometimes money—with frauds. Some imposters might claim they are ready to assist you in a case—but they don’t have a valid license to practice law. Others might reach out to you with an offer to help keep you from getting into trouble. The scams can be elaborate, with perpetrators going to great lengths to pull off a con.

And it’s not just average Joes and Janes who are being targeted. Last year, after being contacted by a law firm, Amazon pulled a product from its marketplace for an intellectual property violation. The problem? The law firm that contacted Amazon wasn’t real. The fraudster had even created a false website to seem valid using profile information from a group of Missouri-based lawyers and the address of a Pittsburg firm.

So how can you protect yourself from falling into a similar situation? The Missouri Bar offers services to help members of the public find licensed legal professionals in their area of concern.

If you are looking to confirm the license to practice law status of a Missouri lawyer, our Lawyer Directory lists every lawyer in Missouri who is in good standing with the Supreme Court of Missouri and eligible to practice law in our state. You will find the lawyer’s name, city and bar number. Inactive lawyers are also listed. Inactive lawyers are in good standing with the Supreme Court of Missouri but are not eligible to practice law in Missouri. If you do not see your potential lawyer’s name in the directory, try searching for any alternative names they might go by. If you still have no luck, that’s a red flag. If the person is not listed in the directory, you may contact the Office of Attorney Enrollment for a final determination of whether or not an individual is licensed to practice law in Missouri.

If you are hoping to locate a lawyer to represent you, our LawyerSearch Service can prove helpful. This free database allows you to search by area of legal practice and location and displays a list of lawyers who have indicated they are accepting new clients.

Finally, if you are searching for free or reduced-cost legal services but are wary of scammers taking advantage of your situation, our list of discounted and pro bono legal services can direct you to verified organizations and agencies in your area that offer support.

As you secure legal help, it’s important to be mindful and aware of who you are working with. We’re here to help you on your quest.

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