Two Ontario firms notified us that they received an email from the purported Kosuke Yamato 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:
From: kosuke yamato [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: March-19-14 4:06 PM
Subject: Breach of Contract Matter
REQUEST FOR LEGAL REPRESENTATION.
This is a request for your possible representation in a Breach of Contract matter, Mr kosuke yamato of Kubota company japan.I like to know if your schedule will permit you to handle a case of breach of 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 that we can decide on what to do.If you have any questions or concern do not hesitate to contact me.
Mr kosuke yamato
Finance & Accounting Dept
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. Instructions on how to report a claim are here.
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.