One of the problems of having a semi-public persona in the internet age is that anyone can obtain your basic biographical information from a Google search. For scammers and con artists, this represents an opportunity to add legitimacy to their scam.
Unfortunately, it has been brought to our attention that a scammer has been using attorney Keith Purdue's name in that manner.
Here's What Happened
In December of 2020, our law firm was contacted by a woman from Europe who stated:
I just wanted to inform you that someone is using Keith Purdues name to scam people. I just got an email that is offering me alot of money because someone with my last name in america appearantly died. (Redicilous right?).
Anyways I screenshotted the email I got. I'm not sure if there is anything you can do, but I thought it would be good to inform you. Looks like the real Keith is a practicing lawyer in your firm.
Hope this helps somehow.
She attached a screenshot of the message the scammer sent her:
In a nutshell, the scammer claims that he is Keith Purdue, an attorney from America, and that he has been tasked with transferring $18,500,000 to the recipient, which was devised to her in a will by a wealthy American relative.
Meanwhile, on Planet Earth...
No, you do not have a rich relative who left you large sum of money. As a general rule, if you recieve an email telling you that you are now fabulously wealthy, don't believe it.
In America (and I suspect in much of the rest of the world, as well), nary a dollar changes hands without documentation. If you really had a dead relative that willed you a bunch of money, there would be court filings, tax considerations, and all manner of red tape and paperwork involved in the transfer. Under no circumstances would such a transaction involve merely an introductory email and then a transfer of money.
This type of scam is common and usually takes the form of the "Nigerian Prince" scam. The way it works is that the scammer pretends to be a prominent person (a diplomat, attorney, business magnate, etc.) who has been tasked with giving away a fortune in cash for one reason or another.
When they find someone who believes them, they will eventually ask that person for their banking information which they claim they need in order to wire money to the recipient.
Alternatively, they may send their victim a check for a large sum of money, but there's a catch. They will often say something like, "We owe you $5,000 dollars, but our accounting department accidentally wrote the check for $100,000. Please deposit the check and send us a check for the difference."
As you can imagine, the check they sent was fake, which the victim discovers only after they send the scammer a check for the difference.
Who is The Real Keith Purdue?
Keith Purdue is in fact an attorney practicing law in Texas. However, he practices in personal injury litigation, not probate law.
In other words, Keith Purdue sues negligent people and businesses, he does not handle payouts for rich decedents. In America, those two areas of the law are quite distinct from one another, and it's very rare for a lawyer to practice both types of law.
Further, all of the real Keith Purdue's contact information can be found on this site, and none of it is consistent with the fake contact information provided in the email referenced above.
How Do I Know if I was Contacted by The Real Keith Purdue or Not
If someone contacts you claiming to be Keith Purdue, call our law firm to verify.
But please note that Keith Purdue has never once called a stranger and offered them money. The only time a stranger will receive a call from Keith Purdue out of the blue is if they are a witness to one of the accidents his clients were involved in or something along those lines.
So, if you witnessed a drunk driving crash or an 18-wheeler accident and Keith Purdue calls you for a statement or subpoenas you to testify in court, you should take it seriously.
But if someone claiming to be Keith Purdue emails you and says your ship has just come in, don't believe it.
Or, as stated, contact our law firm to verify.