Equipment purchase scam using the name Paul Mosvold
Date First Reported: July 2016
Primary Name Associated: Paul Mosvold
Description of Potential Fraud:
Firms in Florida and Texas have notified us that they received an email from the purported Paul Mosvold looking to retain them with regards to making a large commercial purchase. (We have been in contact with the real Paul Mosvold, who says: “Due to a security leak at the IRS in 2015 my data has been compromised and my name has been used as a “pawn” in an attempt to defraud “gullible” attorney around the country. It’s disheartening that fraudulent activity continuous and so far there is very little I can do about it. I continue to report it to relevant government entities and Google who allows people to create fake email addresses. I do exist, but I do not have or ever will have a helicopter for sale.)
This appears to be a 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 purchaser (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 to the lawyer:
From: GAABN [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Monday, July 18, 2016 12:13 PM
Subject: Re:Sales Agreement
I got your contact through state bar referral directory please let me know if your firm drafts sales and purchase agreement, I have a buyer in your area. A referral will be appreciated if your firm does not.
Mr. Paul Mosvold
P.O Box 2431 Houston, TX 77079
Replying to the email brought this response:
From: Paul Mosvold [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Monday, July 18, 2016 5:01 PM
Subject: Re: Re:Sales Agreement
I am in the process of selling an Helicopter ( Bell Helicopters 407 ) to a buyer residing in your area.
I need an attorney to help me draft a purchase and sale agreement for the transaction.
I have attached some necessary details of the Helicopter for your review,
please advise on your rate, retainer fee and forward to me your retainer agreement to sign,
sales price totaling $2,250,000 USD.
i have attach the copy of the Helicopter ( Bell 407 ) i am selling below
Find below the name of the proposed buyer for your conflict check.
Mr. Paul Mosvold
P.O Box 2431 Houston, TX 77079
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@example.com. 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.
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. 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.