Commercial debt collection scam using the names Christopher Simpson and Batts R Us
Date First Reported: April 2015
Primary Name Associated: Christopher Simpson
Description of Potential Fraud:
Four firms in Canada and the U.S. have notified us that they received an email from the purported Christopher Simpson of Batts R Us 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 email from the fraudster to the lawyer:
From: Christopher Simpson [mailto:[email protected]]
Sent: Monday, March 30, 2015 10:22 AM
Subject: Commercial Litigation Case
I would please like to discuss a commercial litigation case. If you handle
such cases, respond for more details.
Replying to the email brought this response:
It’s a great relief to have this finally looked into by a professional. A client of ours placed an urgent demand for some products which we didn’t have available at that time. We reached out to Firestone Complete Auto Care , entered into a contract after their price were reviewed and accepted by us. The time we agreed upon to have products delivered passed and still none of the products were delivered. We requested for a full refund after confirming our contract with them void. We tried retrieving funds ourselves but to no avail. We kept getting empty promises and this has lingered on for quite some time now. We are afraid we may never get paid unless legal action is introduced. And that is why we have come to you. Full details are below for your conflict check.
Firestone Complete Auto Care
200 S California St
Ventura, CA 93001-2822
Every penny must be recovered even if it comes to litigation. We can’t allow them ruin our business relationship with a very good client and still keep our money. Because of this failed transaction we have incurred avoidable losses. We can’t afford to maintain our staff strength and keep our business running smoothly if losses like this happen every day. Attached to this email you will find Paper work related to this transaction. Review and please let us know your thoughts. We have some concerns below we would also like to be addressed in your next email.
Will a representative be required to appear in court ?.Do you see any debilities in our case?. How many years of experience do you have? What is your fee to handle a case like this. ? Can you give any guarantees. ? what happens if they file for bankruptcy.? How do we defend ourselves against that? Can you guarantee prompt response to emails and calls? Please send your legal agreement which includes your fee structure and resume for review or give us a recommendation if you cannot take our case.
Christopher J. Simpson
BATTS R US Ltd
PO Box 51-783
Phone:+64(0)9 889 4382
Fax:+64(0)9 353 1386
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 are an Ontario lawyer who suspects 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.
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 (or will take no further actions 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, which may wish to see it. 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).
If you have been successfully duped, please immediately notify LAWPRO as there may be a claim against you. Instructions on how to report a claim are here.
For more immediate updates on fraud and claims prevention, subscribe to the email or RSS feed updates from LAWPRO’s AvoidAClaim blog.
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.