Settlement collection scam using the name Scott Mason
Date First Reported: May 2022
Description of Potential Fraud:
Two Ontario firms notified us that they received an email from the purported Scott Mason looking to retain them with regards an employment dispute settlement.
This is 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 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 Cybercrime and Bad Cheque Fraud Fact Sheet for a list the red flags of a bogus legal matter that is really a fraud.
Here is an email sent to the lawyers describing the scenario:
From: Scott Mason [email protected]
Date: Monday, May 16, 2022 at 9:46 AM
Subject: Re: Do you accept collections?
Good Morning. Many thanks for your response and interest in my collection matter. Here is a brief of my claim:
This is a case between B & R Holdings Inc. Vs. Scott Mason for your conflict check.
I was engaged as an Independent Contractor with B & R Holdings Inc. A Construction and Engineering firm in Ontario, for 4 years 8 months as the Head Service/Maintenance Officer of their heavy duty equipment; trucks and tractors etc. My years of service with the firm was satisfactory and I maintained a cordial relationship with the management during my years of active service with them.
In my years of working with B & R Holdings Inc, I was exposed to radio-chemicals, hydrocarbon fumes from exhaust maintenance and heavy noise pollution from construction sites.
In December, 2020, after severe headaches, acute flu and drops from my ears I was diagnosed with ENT conditions as a result of my exposure to these unfavorable working conditions.
After treatment, medical bills, purchases and hearing aids amounted to $62,900 and in the course of treatment I missed 40 working days of my personal daily activities which amounted to $800/day. So I lost a total of $32,000.
To compensate me for the severity of the ENT condition, the long period of treatment, hearing and vision impairments and the continuing pain and discomfort I suffered, I demanded the sum of $370,400.
I reported immediately to B & R Holdings Inc, for my claims with proof from the hospital as a result of my service with the company and they acknowledged my demand letter for my claims and approved the sum of $350,500 for immediate payment. This settlement fund is fine by me hence entered into an out-of-court Debt Settlement Agreement Release.
Terms of the debt settlement release require that I get any licensed work comp/Injury/Settlement or Collection Attorney since as an Independent Contractor I’m not qualified for Ontario Workers’ Compensation policy claim and I am out-of-state currently working onshore(onboard) as maintenance supervisor with an Oil and Gas Equipment servicing firm in Arlington, VA; to represent me in finalizing this settlement, securing and processing of settlement claims due to time constraints and status limitations.
Please advise if you can handle this collection matter, or suggest an attorney to me as I need to retrieve my money as soon as I can due to time constraints.
Upon your request, I can send you copies of the debt settlement agreement release agreed by both parties for your reference and advise on your service/retainer/contingency fees.
Lastly, you can reach me through my cell (571) 488-9604. Drop a call or text message/voicemail if I am not reachable and I will revert. E-mail is suitable just for the moment due to network restrictions and difficulties while onboard vessels. I will return your calls as soon as I can. Please pardon me on this.
Anticipate your prompt and favorable response.
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.