Equipment purchase scam using the name Chris Williams
Date First Reported: May 2018
Primary Name Associated: Chris Williams
Description of Potential Fraud:
Two Ontario firms notified us that they received an email from the purported Chris Williams looking to retain them with regards to making a large commercial purchase.
This appears to be a bad cheque scam (with a real company likely being impersonated) 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 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 an email sent to the lawyer:
From: Chris Williams
Sent: Monday, April 30, 2018 8:27 AM
I am purchasing a used excavator in your state and the purchase agreement requires your services, I want to know if you can provide closing service for this purchase.
Let me know if this is within your service capacity and I can email a copy of the purchase invoice, Trust instruction and purchase agreement to you for your review, if you cannot provide the service for this purchase i appreciate your effort to recommend who can.
Thank you while I await your response,
Replying to the email brought this response:
Thanks for responding to my request that you can assist with the transaction,below is name and address of the Seller for your conflict check.
Address:111 5 Ave SW #1730, Calgary, AB T2G 2C4
I will scan and email the purchase agreement documents to you for your review and to enable you have a better understanding of what is required from you, the location of the parties involves and all details of the purchase are outlined in the purchase sales agreement documents.
Acknowledge this massage and let me know if it is okay for me to forward the purchase sales agreement to you for your review.Thanks as i look forward working with your firm.
9710 2 St #102, Sidney,
BC V8L 3C4
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.