Real estate bad cheque scam using the name Chan Wong
Date First Reported: August 2015
Primary Name Associated: Chan Wong
Description of Potential Fraud:
Two Ontario firms notified us that they received an email (via a real estate agent) from the purported Chan Wong looking to retain them with regards to representing them on a real estate transaction.
In this type of scam the fraudster pretends interest in a property and sends a certified cheque or bank draft as a deposit or full payment that will be deposited in the lawyer’s trust account. Soon after, some reason will be given for backing out of the deal and the fraudster will ask for the deposit or payment back, minus whatever legal fees and penalties the lawyer holds back. Of course, the original cheque was fraudulent, so any amount the lawyer sends to the fraudster will cause a shortfall in the trust account.
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:
On Jul 24, 2015, at 3:02 AM, chan wong
My name is Mr. Chan Wong from china. I’m interested in this property, I don’t want to lose the property to another buyer. I am currently working offshore and don’t have access to phones at the moment. Lets stick to emailing for now to get the purchase process started. Can you be my agent to put this offer in writing?
Stated Below is my information:
Home Address: 8 XUJIAZHAI, HUAQIAOCUN
XINZHONG XIANG, TIANTAI XIAN
Here are my following Terms:
I would like to close by on or before the 31st of August.
I would like the contract document in my name only, i.e Chan Wong
I would like an inspection and an appraisal on the purchase of the property.
I would deposit $30,000 for the property.
Attached is a recent copy of my bank statement, the purchase would be a cash buy.
I hope the above information meet you well as I await the offer document to review in accord.
Replying to the email brought this response:
Please note that earnest money would be settled in a timely manner after I review the offer documents. As I have said before, the home will be a cash buy and I and my wife will fly to Canada for the closing but before that I would like my Stock Broker in Canada/America to send the money to you via a lawyer.
I want to make the funds available in Canada before coming to view the property, please I would want you to refer a lawyer to me so that my stock broker can send the funds directly to him to keep in a trust account until I arrive in Canada with my wife.
Please let me know the lawyer retaining fees and charges so that my stock broker can include all in the payment he would be sending to the lawyer. Kindly get back to me with a candid response as I plan to be in Canada soon.
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 SheetMore 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.