A Toronto lawyer has advised us that he was retained last week on an attempted fraud involving a re-financing on a property on Heaslip Terrace in Scarborough.

As the fraudsters are using the names of the real property owners, we are not disclosing the names being used or the address of the property.

Early last week a woman contacted the lawyer by phone asking for help on a re-fi for her parents. They are on title for the property in question and it has no encumbrances. The re-fi amount was $200,000, about 60% of property’s value. At the initial contact the daughter indicated that there was no rush to close the transaction.

The fraudsters had approached a lender and approval for the re-fi came to the lawyer from the lender a couple of days after the initial contact. The daughter had called several times over the course of those few days enquiring as to whether the approval had come in.

After the approval came in, the lawyer was instructed (several times) to accelerate the closing of the transaction and that the funds were to be disbursed to a third-party in order to close the purchase of a business.

The daughter and parents visited the lawyer’s office late last Friday to complete the paperwork. The only contact info for the daughter is a cell phone for daughter. The parents provided a telephone number that does not match the publicly listed number for the property (crosschecked via Canada411.com). The parents presented Ontario Driver Licences as identification. The names on the licences matched the names on the title of the property.

The licences did not have proper security features. Using the MTO’s online Driver Licence Verification service, the lawyer determined that the licences provided were fake. (For $2.00 you can check the validity driver licences at https://www.dlc.rus.mto.gov.on.ca/dlc/OrderForm.aspx

Upon determining the matter was a fraud, the lawyer advised the lender this was the case and advised the fraudsters that he was terminating the retainer. The lawyer also notified the real property owner of the attempted fraud.

Please be on the lookout for similar fraud attempts.

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.

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Fraud Fact SheetMore 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.

Categories: Fraud Prevention