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Alert to Attorneys and Law Firms:
Scammers send out Emails seeking Representation
We have become aware that scammers are now targeting attorneys and law firms in a variation of the traditional Nigerian 419 scam. The scam starts off with an email seeking an attorney to represent the sender. The nature of the representation is usually based on collecting a sum purportedly owed to the sender. In all instances that we have seen, the sender claims to be outside the U.S. and most often from Asia. The initial email or subsequent email asks the attorney to prepare or sign a fee agreement letter. Once the fee agreement is signed, a third party that allegedly owes money to the sender settles and has a check sent to the attorney. The sender requests that the attorney deposit the third party check and after subtracting his or her fees, send the balance to the sender. The third party check will turn out to be a forgery or invalid and the bank will hold the attorney responsible for the amount of the check. The scam takes advantage of the fact that many erroneously believe that once a check is deposited with a bank and the funds are shown to be available that the check is valid. It often takes several weeks for the validity of the check to be ascertained and of course the bank will expect you to take the loss on any invalid check. Adding insult to injury, the bank will likely charge a bad check fee and other fees if the returned check creates a negative balance in your account. We have heard reports that multiple law firms have been victimized by this scam. If you get an email seeking representation in a collection matter from an overseas individual, do your due diligence before taking on the client. And if you do take on such a client, make sure you take all necessary precautions to avoid paying funds to a client out of a third party check that has not been determined to be completely genuine and valid. We have set forth examples of some emails that appear intended to victimize attorneys and law firms below. We have omitted names and highlighted the type of boilerplate generalities that are indicative of this scam:
A look at how the Nigerian Scam is used on lawyers.
ABA Journal article: How a lawyer was victimized by Email Scam
Lawyers Fighting Fraud Lawyers and law firms who handle fraud and class action suits listed by state.
Legal Counsel from _______ Electronics Industrial CoLtd
I am [name omitted] and I am the Accounts Officer at ________ Electronics Industrial Co.,Ltd. The management of ________ Electronics Industrial Co.,Ltd. requires your legal counsel in helping us seek redress from our debtors in your region who owe us money and breached our purchase agreement. Looking forward to reading from you.
[Japanese name omitted] Accounting Officer, ________ Electronics Industrial Co.,Ltd. [Tokyo address omitted]
Collection from [Japanese name omitted] Steel Corporation to recipients
Good day, we are soliciting for your assistance for debt collection matters in your jurisdiction. Please contact us if you are in position to render services. email us [email address omitted}
My name is [Chinese name omitted]. I am contacting your law firm with regards to a divorce settlement with my ex-husband _______ who reside in you jurisdiction. We had an out of court agreement for him to pay me the amount of [omitted figure exceeds $500,000] at this time have only received the amount of 44,000.00. I am seeking the help of your law firm to collect the balance from him as he has agreed to pay me the money, but have been inconsistent with the date. I believe that with the help of your law firm he will be willing to pay in order to avoid litigation. I look forward to your response on this matter.
My name is ___ Trump and I am contacting your firm concerning a property settlement with my ex husband who resides in the US. I am currently on assignment in Japan. We had an agreement (Property Settlement Agreement) for him to pay [omitted figure exceeds $1 million] plus legal fees. He has only paid me $186,000.00 since. I am hereby seeking your firm`s assistance in compelling him to remit the balance owed to me as the stated time for completion of payment has long elapsed. If you can represent me, kindly advice immediately. Ms. _____ Trump Email: [omitted]
[And another email by the same sender]
I wish to file a petition against my ex-spouse for breaching the court's decree with regards to payment of property settlement. If you are available for such case, please reply to [omitted]
I need a lawyer that can help me with the property settlement and family support agreement I had with my ex-spouse.
[omitted name of wife to wealthy American]
Contract Dispute from [name omitted]
We are in desperate need of a law offices that handles civil litigation cases.
Kindly your firm falls in this category and we would get back to you with more details.
We are seeking for a lawyer to assist in a collection case that requires immediate attention. If this is within your line of practice please contact me ASAP (email omitted) because i will like to speak with you. I will also appreciate a referral if this is not within your line of practice.
A similar email to the one below was found at this site: http://avoidaclaim.com/2013/commercial-debt-collection-scam-by-nakamura-kazuhiko-of-ishizuka-electronics-corp/ with the same name and address, though the name of the firm was different and a few sentences were changed.
From [Japanese name omitted]
I am [Japanese name omitted] the owner and CEO of __________. We want you to do a client check to see if there would be any conflict that can possibly prevent you from representing our client _____ Electronic corporation, against an entity in your area of jurisdiction.
This matter regards money own our client ________ Electronics Corporation. We have previously employed other means to resolve this issue unfortunately we have not progressed as expected. If you require the name of the opposing party to conduct your conflict check, please respond to our inquiry and we shall also be ready to put all mechinery in place for your retainer's.
Meanwhile,as a result of time discripancies between the AMERICAS and ASIA we want all communication and correspondence via email.
For information about other internet scams, visit our pages here: Advance Fee Fraud, Lottery Scams, Check Clearing, Overseas Jobs
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