Commercial debt collection scam using the names Oswald Banfield and Barreett Steel Limited
Date First Reported: November 2013
Primary Name Associated: Oswald Banfield
Description of Potential Fraud:
Firms in Colorado and Montana notified us that they received an email from the purported Oswald Banfield and Barreett Steel Limited looking to retain them with regards assisting on corporate matters, but in reality is likely a lead-up to a commercial debt collection scam or similar kind of scam.
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 response:
From: Oswald Banfield mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
Sent: Wednesday, November 20, 2013 9:36 AM
Subject: Business Case
I want to inquire if your firm handles breach of contract cases. A referral will be welcomed if this is not your area of practice.
Replying to the email brought this response:
From: Oswald Banfield [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Thursday, November 21, 2013 5:28 AM
Subject: RE: Business Case
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.
Triple-S Steel Holdings, Inc.
3811 Joliet Street Denver, Colorado 80239
We hope to hear from you at your earliest convenience.
Executive Board of Director
Barreett Steel Limited
Barrett House Cutler
Heights Lane Dudley
Hill Bradford, West Yorkshire BD4 9HU
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.