Commercial debt collection scam using the name Bikash Rana
Date First Reported: November 2015
Primary Name Associated: Bikash Rana
Description of Potential Fraud:
An Ontario firms notified us that they received an email from the purported Bikash Rana looking to retain them with regards to a commercial debt collection.
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 other names associated with it , and our Fraud Fact Sheet for a list the red flags of a bogus legal matter that is really a fraud.
Here is the initial contact email sent to the lawyer:
From: bikash rana [mailto:[email protected]]
Subject: New Client
My name is Bikash Rana i like to know if you available to take on any new client please get back to me soon as you can with yourlegal fees have a wondefull day.
Replying to the email brought this response:
Thank you for your prompt response to my email. We are requesting for your legal assistance in a debt recovery and a possible litigation matter.This debt is as a result of an outstanding payment for goods supplied to a company in Ottawa sum of $175,000.00 (One Hundred and Seventy Five Thousand Dollars) An initial deposit of $100,000 was paid and the due date for the balance payment was set for the 10th of August, 2015 as stipulated in our supplier’s invoice
After this agreement was breached,we had a lengthy negotiation and consequently agreed to extend payment to a deadline of 11th of October, 2015.
Quite unfortunately, the extended deadline was not honored.We will like to draw your attention to the relationship with our customer which has been cordial and we have had successful business relationship over the past few years,and it is in our position to maintain this relationship after collection of the outstanding sum owed to us.
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]. 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.
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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. 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.