Commercial debt collection scam using the names Steven Taylor (or Steve Aaron) and Bourne Group
Date First Reported: September 2013
Primary Name Associated: Steven Taylor
Description of Potential Fraud:
Forty lawyers in Ontario and the U.S. have notified us that they received an email from the purported Steven Taylor (or Steve Aaron) of the Bourne Group (or Chainbridge Steel) looking to retain them with regards to a commercial debt collection.
This is a classic bad cheque scam that presents as legal matter requiring the assistance of a lawyer. In this scam lawyers will be duped into wiring real funds from their trust accounts after depositing a fake cheque received as payment from the debtor (who is part of the fraud). See our Confirmed Fraud Page for more of an explanation of how these frauds work and to see other names associated with it. Our Fraud Fact Sheet lists the red flags of a bogus legal matter that is really a fraud.
Here is the initial contact email sent by the fraudster to the lawyer and subsequent responses:
From: Steven Taylor
Please respond to email@example.com
Please advice if your law office handles Collection/Breach of Contract matters. If this is within your line of practice please revert to us. We do appreciate a referral if it is not your area of Legal Practice.
Replying to the email brought this response:
Please let this email serve as our response regarding your firm representing our company. Find below our debtors information for a conflict check, before we can schedule for a telephone conference.
Brenmar Steel Sales
900 Morton Street Jackson, OH 45640
We hope to hear from you at your earliest convenience.
Executive Board of Directors.
Bourne Group Limited
St Clements House St Clements Rd,
Poole, Dorset BH12 4GP, United Kingdom.
T: +44 793 701 4296
F: +44 809 174 0719
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.
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.