Commercial debt collection scam using the names Eric Fu and Fu Co. Ltd
Date First Reported: May 2016
Primary Name Associated: Eric Fu
Description of Potential Fraud:
Two Ontario firms notified us that they received an email from the purported Eric Fu looking to retain them with regards to a breach of a business loan agreement.
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 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: Eric Fu [mailto:[email protected]]
Sent: February-10-16 2:02 PM
Subject: Legal Services Required
Sir. Please, Is debt collection/Breach of Contract Cases, within your practice? Let me know so I can furnish you with more details.
Thanks. Eric Fu. B/O Fu Co. Ltd.
Replying to the email brought this response:
How are you today ? You were referred to us by an Attorney,
who claimed that you are a Barrister & Solicitor that is really good
with civil litigation matter such as ours.
As I have earlier, My Company Fu Co. Ltd
is seeking for an attorney that could assist us with our debt
retrieval and breach of contract case.
Fu Co. Ltd is based in China and at the moment we are setting up a
local office in the UK, which is almost completed. Our principal
activity is manufacturing of stationery/office equipment, as well as
being professional exporter of various stationery items. It’s a family
owned business and I am the Chief executive officer. Actually, I am
therefore presently overseeing the UK branch of the company until it’s
properly completed and well established.
Due to our new upcoming branch office in the UK our Webmaster are unto
reconstructing and upgrading of our website. So I plead with you to
exercise some patience as this is the only way we can show you some
more info about us and our products and services as it will be
exhibited on the site.
Actually, we request for your legal consultation services on behalf of
our company, because at the moment, we are clearing off outstanding
debts owed us by our international customers for goods supplied and
services rendered. Though, initial deposit were paid for these goods
but they have elapsed the due date for the balance payment, as agreed
upon and stipulated on the sales/credit invoice. After this agreement
was breached, we had lengthy negotiations and consequently agreed to
extend payment to some later date. Quite unfortunately, the extended
deadline was not honored. So because we are presently incapacitated
due to international legal boundaries to exert pressure on these
delinquent customers, especially those in Canada and the United
States, we need a legal counsel in their country/jurisdiction to
assist us in exerting the necessary litigation process accordingly,
to ensure that they pay up.
Hopefully, we expect this to be a non-litigation collection, as I
think that, the fear of the possibility of a lawsuit would serve as a
catalyst to make them pay sooner rather than later. However if it ever
get to a lawsuit stage, we are very much ready to provide all the
necessary documentation required in court to substantiate our case.
We have never really embarked on such task, internationally, before,
so we would very much appreciate and be ready to adhere to your advice
and instruction that will help expedite our case for settlement or
litigation purposes. Should you wish to pursue this matter for us,
please send your retainer agreement with a schedule of fees and any
other information that you deem necessary by return e-mail.
Mr. Eric Fu
Fu Co. Ltd, (UK Office)
64 Holmes Road,
>> London NW5 3AB
>> Tel: +442038085839
>> Fax: +442038172908
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.
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. 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.