Debt collection scam by Akihiro Hotaka
Description of Potential Fraud:
Three Ontario lawyers have notified us that they’ve received an email from the purported Akihiro Hotaka looking to retain them with regards to a breach of a loan agreement. This is similar to other frauds of this kind we have seen. For a full description of how this fraud works and to see other names attached to it, see our Confirmed Fraud page that deals with business loan frauds.
Here is the email:
Subject: I know you will be able to assist me because i went through your profile.
Date: Tue, 3 Jul 2012 09:48:23 -0700 (PDT)
From: Mr akihiro Hotaka
Reply-To: Mr akihiro Hotaka
To: lawyer email
Please i am in need of your legal assistance i lent a family friend money and he has refused to pay back the balance of the money,and i hope you will be able to assist me.because i checked your profile.
Below is my email address.
Mr Akihiro Hotaka
A lawyer who replied got this response and copy of the loan agreement:
Thanks for your reply and sorry for the delay it was due to my failing health ,I tried calling you but it was not connecting.Please i need you to help me enforce an agreement with a family friend.i lent him money and he has paid me part of the money and has been promising to pay me the balance and up till date he has not.please i also want to know how much its going to cost me. (your legal fee). i lent him $470 000 00 and has paid me $168 000 00 the balance is $302 000 00.He resides in Toronto.
please i will be very grateful if you can kindly assist me because i am in need of the money now to settle my bills.most especially my medical bill.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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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.