[Updated June 2014]
Dozens of lawyers (and members of the public) in Canada and the U.S. have notified us that they have received an email from the purported Peng Chen of Wuhan Iron & Steel (Group) Corporation 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 aimed at lawyers:
From: Verne C. Bechill [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: September-24-12 9:35 AM
Subject: Dear Counsel
This is a request for your possible Representation in a breach of
contract matter.I’m Peng Chen, I like to know if your schedule will
permit you to handle a case of breach contract between us and a customer
in your jurisdiction.
If there are processes new clients are meant to go through before a case
is accepted please advice, or if you accept case base on referral I
would want to know also.
It is important we hear from you as soon as possible so we can decide on
what to do. If you have any questions or concern do not hesitate to
Wuhan Iron & Steel (Group) Corporation.
Qingshan District of Wuhan,
Website: http://www.wisco.com.cn/wisco_ en/
And this version of the email has been reported by many non-lawyers as well:
Attention: Prospective REP.
We are a corporation that Manufacture Iron & Steel in Qingshan District of Wuhan, China. We Require your assistance as Representative.
E-mail Datas Below;
Wuhan Iron & Steel (Group) Corporation.
Qingshan District of Wuhan, China
This is the response people receive:
Subject: RE: personal assistant
Date: Wed, 28 May 2014 21:32:07 +0000
About me: My name is David Lawson, International Relations manager and special representative (USA) at Wuhan Iron And Steel (Group) Corp.. At Wuhan Iron And Steel(Group) Corp. We integrate our strategy as a global diversified industrial company and focuses on the principles — leading with technology, Differentiating with customers and optimizing our work — that taken together are what makes us unique as a company. The WISCO Way is especially powerful because at its core are our people, who every day create enduring impact for all our stakeholders.
Your email/resume was received and reviewed by our HR dept., after close consideration, you have been shortlisted and offered a job with our company.
To improve technology by delivering innovative products and services that drive quality and efficiency
Our Charitable Giving Philosophy:
At WISCO we recognize that the economic, social and physical environment in which our company operates can affect our success as an enterprise. We also recognize that our actions can have an impact on the communities in which we operate.
Therefore, we acknowledge our responsibility as a good corporate citizen to contribute some of our resources back to our communities.
By doing so, we will:
• Help the less fortunate.
• Support our mission in technology.
• Enhance our image with our communities, customers, associates and employment recruits.
• With that understanding, we identify three fundamental elements in our Charitable Contributions .
I travel a lot and get my hands occupied because I work with other companies in the states and outside, so it is imperative for me to have a worthy assistant who can monitor and keep me up to date with my activities. This position is flexible and you can be in any location, working with me is basically about instructions and following them. There is also a very sensitive issue on trust and accountability which I believe will resolve itself as time goes on.
We are looking for someone that can be trusted and reliable to work very well with good understanding. We are establishing a new office location in your area which you will be a part of the team upon completion. This position is a part time position for now and flexible and it will be full time upon putting the office in place. I’ll need your services 2-3 times weekly which should be about 10-12 hours weekly with salary of $500 per week. We will set up a formal interview as soon as i am back in the states to sign the necessary documents.
This is only an introductory e-mail, as time goes on we should be able to arrange a proper meeting to get things started officially. I do have a number of things you could help me with this week if you will be available for me. This can act as a stable foundation to our working relationship. Kindly RE-CONFIRM your contact details as shown on your resume to enable us proceed to next step.
Address(P.O box not allowed):
Mobile (For SMS):
Once i have received your contact information, I will get back to you with next steps and tasks. include your cell number for TEXT. Your information requested is needed for our company database as an employee and be assured your information is safe and will not be shared.
Mr. David Lawson
International Relations And Marketing Manager
Wuhan Iron And Steel(Group) Corp.
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.