Email scam end-game: the final letter (and cheque)
There is a lot of information available on the initial exploratory emails by which scammers try to trick lawyers into believing they are a genuine client with a genuine need for legal assistance.
If a lawyer is successfully conned into believing the story, the end-game is usually signalled by the arrival of a letter and a cheque or US dollar bank draft, drawn on an apparently genuine (and usually well-known) bank.
The letter is purportedly written by the debtor or erring husband or keen house purchaser - whatever the format of the scam has been. The following example of a "you've got me" letter was accompanied by a bank draft for US$95,000. It is reproduced exactly as written, with the entertaining phrases.
We have deleted the name of the alleged defaulting company - the scammer used the name of a genuine New Zealand company (although it does not have a branch or "regional head office" in Almonte). "Larry Leroy" is an identity used by Nigerian scammers in a number of scams.
The important message is: Do not bank the cheque, or if you do, wait for a few weeks (or months). Recent information published in the United States on lawyer scams indicates that Nigerian scammers have been known to hire a forgery specialist to create a perfect copy of a real company cheque, including a company phone number and the name of a representative of that company. Lawyers calling the contact number are told that the person answering is an employee of the company, and told that the cheque is real.
Remember, the scam depends on the cheque being banked and the lawyer then remitting the funds (after deducting their fee) to the "client" bank account. By the time the bank discovers the cheque is fake, it is too late.
Date: Sept 17th 2013
Dear [Lawyer's Name]
The purpose of this is to convey to you our sincere apologies for any inconvenience you might have experienced in respect to the remittance of the due balance of loan we owed your client Larry Leroy.
Few days ago, we got an email from Mr Leroy letting us know that you now represent him. We never planned for this to happen. As soon as we reviewed the loan agreement, it was clear that somehow, his request for the balance due loan had not been taken into first priority condition. The only possible explanation we could give is that, We have recently had a number of key changes and financial negatives, which might have resulted in his monies being remitted at time stated on the Loan Agreement.
We have directed our financial institution to draft a partial payment to you and which is attached to this letter along with the legal fee as agreed on the Promissory Note that "Should there be a DEFAULT" borrower agrees to pay all reasonable legal fees and collection charges to the extent permissible by law, in addition to other amounts due.
We plead that this case is handled without resulting to any form of litigation. Because of this serious oversight, and as a testament of my appreciation for his kindness, I am going to provide you with the utmost ability to have remainder of the funds owed, remitted ASAP.
Payment & Logistic
[Name of Company].
Regional Head Office
PO Box 1810
Last updated on the 2nd October 2013