Scam email making threats to Ontario lawyers
Description of Potential Fraud:
Four Ontario lawyers have reported to us that they have received emails claiming to be from a person hired by a disgruntled convict to “eliminate” them for their firm’s part in having them convicted of some crime. The message offers to spare the lawyer in return for payment.
These emails are a lawyer-specific variant of an email scam that appears from time to time, in which the recipient is told that a hit has been taken out on them by someone anonymous that they’ve offended or crossed somehow in the past. The details are usually left vague, and the same offer is made to spare the person in return for money. In this case, the facts of the email don’t even fit with how criminal prosecutions are conducted in Canada (i.e. “convicted by your firm”).
In all likelihood it is as safe to ignore these emails as it is to ignore all the other lawyer-targeted email scams, though some firms have opted to inform the police (and any police attention to these email scams is a good thing). Another option is to report the email to the email provider (in this case Google’s Gmail) as abusive and they will investigate and delete the account.
Here is the email:
From: Randy L. Cheng [mailto:[email protected]]
Sent: Thursday, October 04, 2012 2:23 AM
Subject: Your Life is at Stake
To your attention
I want you to read this message very carefully and that you keep the secret until further notice. You do not need to know who I am or where I come from. I was paid an advance of $30,000 to eliminate you. My sponsors one of which is what we can call an ex-convict that was convicted by your firm long ago gave me the reasons I noted. I am more than ten days and now I know that you are innocent of what you are accused because he was guilty of what he was convicted for by your firm. Do not try to warn or send this message to the FBI or the police because I know that I’ll have to do the job for which I was paid. Note that this is the first time that I betrayed my employer.
Look, I’ll do everything I can so that we can meet before but I need $15,000. You have nothing to be afraid of me, I can come see you in your office or home, it is up to you to decide. Never attempt recording or filming our upcoming meeting. you will pay $10,000 to the account I will tell you, this before our first meeting. Once payment is made, I will give you the file that contains the names and queries sponsors. This is a good evidence that can be used to sue if you wish.
The balance of the payment will be settled later.
For the moment this is not the trouble I give you my phone number because you will cooperate. I have your picture and other important information about you. I was involved with my team in the Yemen Arab Republic. You must not ask me any questions.
Quickly confirm for your good.