A Toronto lawyer has informed us of a scam involving fake Toronto law firms being used to lend legitimacy to an inheritance collection scam. This lawyer received a call from a Hungarian law firm (who had dealt with him before), whose Hungarian client had been notified by mail of a multi-million dollar inheritance waiting to be collected in Ontario.
The client had been told that the (non-existent) Toronto firm of “Hubbel and Steven LLP” was holding the estate money, and that $68,000 in duties would need to be paid to free up the inheritance. The fake firm’s website is fairly convincing, other than the fact that the photo of the partners is actually a cast photo from Law and Order UK. Some of the text on the site appears to come from a well-known Altantic Canada law firm. We may never have heard of this except for the fact that the Hungarian law firm knew someone in Toronto and asked them to look into it.
In the course of investigating the “Hubbel and Steven” we found two other fake Toronto firms based on the same template and copied verbiage (“Vaughan and Palmer”) and “Farrell Mallon and Co Solicitors“, and one in Ghana (“William Mensah Chambers“).
While this scam did not target any Ontario firms or clients, it serves as a reminder of the international nature of fraud attempts and how easy it is to mimic real firms to lend a scam some legitimacy.