Commercial debt collection scam by Cheng Wu of Wu Co. Ltd
Date First Reported: November 2012
Primary Name Associated: Cheng Wu
Description of Potential Fraud:
[Updated Oct 2013]
Forty Ontario lawyers have notified us that they have received an email from the purported Cheng Wu of Cheng Wu Co Ltd with regards to a commercial debt litigation scam. For examples of other names attached to this kind of fraud see our Confirmed Fraud Page. For an explanation of how this fraud works see our Fraud Fact Sheet.
Here is the initial email:
From: Cheng Wu
Date: Mon, Nov 19, 2012 at 12:00 AM
Subject: LEGAL ASSISTANCE NEEDED.
To: lawyer email
This is an official request for your legal consultation services on behalf of Wu Co. Ltd. We are based in China and also have a local office in the UK. Our principal activity is manufacturing of stationary/office equipments,as well as being professional exporter of various stationery items. Other activities include constructing, leasing and selling residential and commercial buildings and provision of investment services. We are presently incapacitated due to international legal boundaries to exert pressure on our delinquent customers in your locality and we request for your services accordingly. We got your contact information from an online lawyer directory as a result of our urgent need for a reliable firm or individual/firm to provide legal services as requested.
Please accept my sincerest appreciation on behalf of our company in advance for your willingness to render your services as we look forward to your prompt response to our request.
Mr Cheng Wu
One lawyer got a follow up email:
We sent you a reply to your last email, some days back, explaining
elaborately about retaining your services in respect to collection of
debt owed my company by our delinquent customers. Up till this moment we
haven’t had any response from you. Please kindly indicate in your next
correspondence, if you are interested in representing us or not. Please
do acknowledge the receipt of this email by replying soonest as we are
eagerly waiting in earnest. Thank you.
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]
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 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.
November 29, 2012 at 10:40 am, Aemen Maluka said:
We have received a similar email today.I suspected that it was a scam.The English and the mannerisms seemed too good to be true.In fact the email has been tailored in a way that it will make sense to every lawyer as almost every good law firm has a profile on lexis nexus, lawyer locator etc.
Pretty interesting after the “Hiroshima’ Intellectual Property scam from a so-called Japanese publisher was exposed!Maybe there needs to be a way to track down and discourage these scammers.
Anyways I am glad this website is doing an extremely good job.Well done! and Keep up the good work!
December 03, 2012 at 12:04 pm, Aemen Maluka said:
Ok here is an update.I wrote a polite one liner as a reply to the email just out of curiousity and here is what I got.I am also copy pasting a reply in the next post after which ( as expected) I never heard from them again.
Here is their reply :
“Dear Sir, Thank you for your urgent response to my mail. To be more elaborate, as I have already informed you, Wu Co. LTD is based in China and also have a local office in the UK, which is almost completed. Our principal activity is manufacturing of stationery/office equipments, as well as being professional exporter of various stationery items. Other activities include constructing, leasing and selling residential and commercial buildings and provision of investment services. It’s a Family owned business and I am the Chief executive officer. I have very minimal English speaking ability but understand and could write and read very well in English, thus, I am also overseeing the UK branch of the company until it’s properly completed and well established. Due to our new branch office in the UK our webmaster are unto reconstructing and upgrading of our website. So I plead with you to exercise some patience as this is the only way we can show your some more info about us and of our products and services as it will be exhibited on the site.
Actually, we request for your legal consultation services on behalf of our company, because at the moment. we are clearing off debts owed us by our international customers for goods supplied but we are presently incapacitated due to international legal boundaries to exert pressure on these delinquent customers especially in America. What we need is a legal counsel in their country/jurisdiction to assist us in exerting the necessary litigation process accordingly to ensure that they pay up. If ever, we have a delinquent customer that you have or still representing, then there will be no need for you going after such client on our behalf, in that case you will have to refer an appropriate attorney to us, to assist in resolving issues with such client.
Large sum is been owed my company in North and South America, and this is crippling our business, which is why we have reached out to you, in our desperate attempt to get this debt paid soonest. Hopefully, we expect this to be a non-litigation collection, as I think the threat or possibility of a lawsuit would serve as a catalyst to make our delinquent customers pay sooner rather than later, because they did promise to pay up but have elapsed the time. However if it ever get to a lawsuit stage, we are very much ready to provide all the necessary documentation required in court to substantiate our case
We have never really embarked on such task before and would very much appreciate and be ready to adhere to your advice and instruction, that will help expedite our case for settlement or litigation purposes. Should you wish to pursue this matter for us, please send your retainer agreement with a schedule of fees and any other information that you deem necessary by return e-mail. We are open to either an hourly or contingency fee basis. Please advice which works better for you.
Thank you in advance for your assistance in this matter”
Mr Cheng Wu ( UK office Managing Director)
Wu Co. Ltd,
Surrey, KT22 7KT
And here down below is our tactfully drafted reply, which kind of well….made the fraudsters disappear into thin air.It is a ghost address and a ghost phone number.
“Mr Cheng , Please note that we do not offer retainers and/or contingency agreements as a matter of policy.However we would be more than happy to offer you a lump sum fee amount paid upfront which will cover all the future work.We have however NOT been able to trace the presence of your company at the address you have given, your name or your connection to the enterprise through our trusted UK resources.Maybe if you can give us your company number we can use it to prepare a suggested invoice and email it to you with our standard consultancy agreement.Also to confirm that you are in fact the owner of this company, we need your ID and Company details.Once this issue is cleared we are at your disposal to help you with your debt recoveries.If you say so, our UK representative can call you and visit you at your company office to explain more details and also to assess your legal problems more closely.We can arrange a Chinese interpreter to speak to you as well!
March 19, 2013 at 12:20 pm, Jennifer said:
We received this email yesterday and it says exactly the same thing as what’s been copy and pasted above.
July 04, 2013 at 1:57 am, Sushila Ram said:
We received a similar email too reproduced below:
This is an official request for your legal consultation services on behalf
of Wu Co. Ltd. We are based in China and also setting up a local office in
the UK. Our principal activity is manufacturing of stationary/office equipments,as
well as being professional exporter of various stationery items. Other activities
include constructing, leasing and selling residential and commercial buildings
and provision of investment services. We are presently incapacitated due
to international legal boundaries to exert pressure on our delinquent customers
in your locality and we request for your services accordingly. We got your
contact information from a lawyer directory as a result of our urgent need
for a reliable firm or individual/firm to provide legal services as requested.
Please if interested reply to [email protected] And accept my sincerest
appreciation on behalf of our company in advance for your willingness to
render your services as we look forward to your prompt response to our request.
Please note: Reply to; [email protected] to indicate your interest.
July 04, 2013 at 1:59 am, Sushila Ram said:
Thanks for warning all of us. They do seem like genuine clients.
October 02, 2013 at 10:44 am, Harpreet Singh Makkar said:
Even I received an email from “Mr. Cheng Wu” last night. What raised my suspicion was that the name of sender (Cheng Wu) and the email id did not match. Also my email id was kept in bcc (invisible to me) and it was addressed to a different email, which seemed fake. “Reply to” email address was again different. This made me check the “Avoid a Claim” blog where I thankfully found “Mr. Cheng Wu’s” name.
Thank you PracticePro for keeping us updated!
October 05, 2013 at 4:23 pm, Craig Burley said:
I received one of these this week as well. It was an obvious fraud email but I made a reply to solicit further info to see where they would go.
Amazing that they persist even when this information is out here.
April 08, 2014 at 10:31 am, Humberto Bauder said:
I received a similar email today.
As soon as I started a due diligence research on “the potential new client” I found this site.
January 09, 2015 at 2:37 am, Derrick Hughes said:
I believe this as well as a previous email was sent to me as a result of postings on Craigslist’s LEGAL SERVICES section to generate business, in Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Dear Constable Hughes,
Thank you for your reply. I gave to you adequate information on our company in my previous message to you. If there is anything you would like to know specifically please ask. At Fu Ind’l Co. Ltd we do legitimate businesses. Our website is still being worked on. We have all the necessary information about our debtors and should you agree to represent our interest in your region, it will be your responsibility to know more about our debtors. At this point, we will not be able to divulge to you the information of our debtors as we are yet to have a binding agreement. Please do what you have to do and let me know when you want us to have an agreement and proceed. In the meantime, i will wait for your swift response.