Business loan collection scam using the name Jackson Smith
Date First Reported: April 2016
Primary Name Associated: Jackson Smith
Description of Potential Fraud:
Two Ontario firms notified us that they received an email from the purported Jackson Smith looking to retain them with regards to a breach of a business loan agreement.
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 other names associated with it , and our Fraud Fact Sheet for a list the red flags of a bogus legal matter that is really a fraud.
Here is the initial contact email sent to the lawyer:
>>> Smith Jackson [email protected] 19/04/2016 8:53 AM >>>
I was wondering if you would be able to assist me on a litigation case regarding a friend who has defaulted in paying back the money I loaned him last year. Please let me know if this is something you can assist me with.
Replying to the email brought this response:
Thank you so much for your quick response.
I do not know how I can call you to set up an appointment or consultation due to the time differences between my location and yours. I am attaching the Loan Agreement that was reached in Toronto between me and my friend Werdler Daan, who currently lives at 3101 Bloor Street West Suite 501 Toronto Ontario M8X 2W2. I loaned him the sum of $175.000.00 in August of 2014, when he claimed his business was going through financial difficulties.
He has been coming up with one reason or the other why he has not been able to pay me back the money since the due date of the loan which was the 25th of August 2015. I’m currently away from the States at the moment, in Asia on a business trip. Hence my seeking your assistance to help me collect my money from him. Also attached is the cheque I issued him for the loan.
He sent me a mail stating he want to pay when I told him I was seeking the assistance of an attorney, to help me collect my money from him. I did not reply his email, because I do not believe a word from him anymore. Please do forward me your retainer agreement and your terms for my review, if this is something you can assist me with.
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 [email protected]. We use this information for the warnings we post on AvoidAClaim. We do not disclose the names of firms that have provided us with information.
Ontario Lawyers - Call LAWPRO
If you are an Ontario lawyer acting on a matter that you suspect might be a fraud, call LAWPRO at 1-800-410-1013 (416-598-5899). One of our Fraud Team members 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, we will work with you to prevent the fraud and minimize potential claims costs.
What can you do to help put a stop to the fraud attempt?
You can simply stop replying to the fraudster’s emails or inform them that you suspect fraud and will not act on the matter. You can report the fraudsters’ email addresses to the email hosting company. If you have a fraudulent cheque you can destroy it or send it to the fraud department of the financial institution it is drawn upon. In Canada, you can report the fraud to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.
We are often asked if it is worthwhile to report the fraud attempt to the police in the hopes of helping catch the fraudsters. You can certainly report the fraud to your local or federal law enforcement agencies, but unfortunately it is often difficult, expensive and time consuming for them to attempt to shut down these online fraud perpetrators (though there are some successes).
What if the fraud has been successful?
If you have been successfully duped, please immediately notify LAWPRO as there may be a claim against you. See the LAWPRO website for instructions on how to report a claim.
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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. To proactively prevent trust account shortfalls and malpractice claims, LAWPRO encourages firms to teach their lawyers and staff about fraud and how to recognize fraud attempts.