[Updated Oct 2013]
Forty Ontario lawyers have notified us that they have received an email from the purported Cheng Wu of Cheng Wu Co Ltd with regards to a commercial debt litigation scam. For examples of other names attached to this kind of fraud see our Confirmed Fraud Page. For an explanation of how this fraud works see our Fraud Fact Sheet.
Here is the initial email:
From: Cheng Wu
Date: Mon, Nov 19, 2012 at 12:00 AM
Subject: LEGAL ASSISTANCE NEEDED.
To: lawyer email
This is an official request for your legal consultation services on behalf of Wu Co. Ltd. We are based in China and also have a local office in the UK. Our principal activity is manufacturing of stationary/office equipments,as well as being professional exporter of various stationery items. Other activities include constructing, leasing and selling residential and commercial buildings and provision of investment services. We are presently incapacitated due to international legal boundaries to exert pressure on our delinquent customers in your locality and we request for your services accordingly. We got your contact information from an online lawyer directory as a result of our urgent need for a reliable firm or individual/firm to provide legal services as requested.
Please accept my sincerest appreciation on behalf of our company in advance for your willingness to render your services as we look forward to your prompt response to our request.
Mr Cheng Wu
One lawyer got a follow up email:
We sent you a reply to your last email, some days back, explaining
elaborately about retaining your services in respect to collection of
debt owed my company by our delinquent customers. Up till this moment we
haven’t had any response from you. Please kindly indicate in your next
correspondence, if you are interested in representing us or not. Please
do acknowledge the receipt of this email by replying soonest as we are
eagerly waiting in earnest. Thank you.
How to handle a real or suspected fraud
If you have been targeted by any of these frauds, please forward any of the emails and supporting documents that you have received to email@example.com.
If you suspect you are acting on a matter that might be a fraud, call LAWPRO at 1-800-410-1013 (416-598-5899). We will talk you through the common fraud scenarios we are seeing and help you spot red flags that may indicate you are being duped. This will help you ask appropriate questions of your client to determine if the matter is legitimate or not. If the matter you are acting on turns out to be a fraud and there is a potential claim, we will work with you to prevent the fraud and minimize potential claims costs.
If you have been successfully duped, please immediately notify LAWPRO as there may be a claim against you.
For more immediate updates on fraud and claims prevention, subscribe to the email or RSS feed updates from LAWPRO’s AvoidAClaim blog.
Fraud Fact Sheet More fraud prevention information and resources are available on the practicePRO Fraud page, including the Fraud Fact Sheet, a handy reference for lawyers and law firm staff that describes the common frauds and the red flags that can help identify them.