Check your e-mails. Notwithstanding the difficult economy, an increasing number of new business opportunities are being offered:

“Shenzhen Zhaoheng Specialty Steel Co., Ltd. … is owed payment on shipments that they made to customers here in the US. … I can not handle this matter at this point because it is out of our jurisdiction. I have represented this company in the past, therefore I am assisting them in finding an attorney in the required state. Kindly contact Mrs. Amy Zeng if you are interested in representing them.” What follows is Hong Kong contact information.

“Hi Counsel. My name is Jennifer Lunyang. I am contacting your firm in regards to a divorce settlement with my ex husband who resides in your jurisdiction. I am currently living in Japan. … I am hereby seeking your firm to represent me in collecting the balance from him … [to] litigate this matter if he fails to pay as promised.” The return email address is in Taiwan.

“My name is Michel Mahillon, founder of Michel Mahillon Law Firm in Brussels Belgium. … My old client Mr. Toshikazu Nishimoto is the President of Tokyo Steel Manufacturing Co., Ltd. [which] has a claim against a company that is registered in your State for a breach of contract. I can not handle this matter as I am not licensed to practice in your state. I represented this company in a different matter here in Belgium some time ago. … If you are interested in reviewing the details of his claim, then kindly contact Mr. Nishimoto.”

Similar emails came from Emmanuel Aspeele of Bruges, Belgium, and Vincent Bakeroot of Antwerp.

These and many other spurious email requests for legal representation travel to lawyers through cyberspace. Most are able to dodge spam filters. Some are obvious frauds; others are more clever. Objectives may vary, but all are scams.

We write with a suggestion. It is not necessary to spend time and effort analyzing unsolicited emails from unknown correspondents to locate tell-tale evidence of deceit. There is an easy-to-use delete key.