Commercial debt collection scam using the names Saitou Itou and Hirose Electric Co
Date First Reported: October 2013
Primary Name Associated: Saitou Itou
Description of Potential Fraud:
Two lawyers in Ontario and three in the U.S. have notified us that he received they email from the purported Saitou Itou of Hirose Electric Co looking to retain them with regards to a commercial debt collection.
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 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 by the fraudster to the lawyer:
From: Hirose Electric Co Ltd [email protected]
This is a request for your legal consultation services, I would like your advice regarding possible representation on a litigation case concerning breach of contract/collection matters. I believe that the matter is within your jurisdiction which is why Iâ€™m requesting your legal advice. After a careful review of your firms profile as well as your qualification and experience, we are of the opinion that your are qualified to provide the legal services as requested.
Do let me know your position in reviewing this matter, so I may provide any additional information. I look forward to your prompt response.
Senior Executive Manager,
Hirose Electric Co., Ltd
5-23 Osaki 5-chome,
Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo 141-8587 Japan
EMAIL: [email protected]
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.
October 24, 2013 at 4:23 pm, Martha said:
I got this too.
November 11, 2013 at 10:44 am, DCW said:
We received this e-mail today, except there was no purported individual sending the e-mail. There appears to be a legitimate company called Hirose Electric, but I’m sure they do not have a gmail.com e-mail address.
November 12, 2013 at 5:08 pm, Carly said:
I also received this on Nov. 9, 2013. I asked for more information along with names and telephone numbers and they sent me a contract and demand letter for their “case” and kept asking for us to send a retainer agreement. I am glad i did some research as this seemed like a scam.