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Repeat of email scam with passport identification

Email scammers targeting New Zealand law firms are now providing the firms with a scanned copy of an passport in an attempt to verify themselves.

In a recent example of the scam, a scanned copy of an American passport was provided when the lawyer was asked to assist with a "breach of loan agreement"

When the requested loan agreement was provided, it was in a soft copy word document and was dissimilar to those drafted in New Zealand.

The email also shared numerous qualities to the most common scam targeting lawyers in New Zealand.

Things to do/watch out for:

  • If a potential client is cold calling, check obtainable references
  • Be wary if the request to obtain money for a breached loan agreement looks too good to be true
  • Be watchful of where the email originates. Is the email form a common email address? E.g. yahoo, gmail, hotmail
  • Does the email indicate that it has been prepared by someone who has some difficulty with written English?
  • Check whether potential client gives a physical address and office phone number rather than a mobile phone
  • If the potential client gives passport identity verification, ask for it to be notarised
  • Observe whether the loan agreement is in a soft copy word document e.g. easily altered
  • Never breach prime rule of trust account by paying out before monies clear
  • If company information if provided, check whether company record signatures match the document signatory provided


Last updated on the 20th May 2014