Legal Assistance Inquiry – Email Fraud

In a previous post, we questioned the competence of the legal profession as follows:

Based on the relatively high volume of email fraud attempts aimed at lawyers, it appears that lawyers are actually worthwhile targets for scams. Otherwise, this type of fraud would be far less frequent.

There must be a flaw in our logic. It turns out that lawyers are masters of due diligence when it comes to email . . .

The aforementioned post — entitled Scam The Lawyers — has become one of our most popular. A major component of its success is the fact that attorneys are finding it and updating the details in the comments. This makes it that much more likely to be found by other potential victims.

We’re impressed.

All this attention has prompted us to write this post in order to thank all you legal eagles for visiting and give you a reference area for a couple more scams. Oh, and we’re hoping you’ll all rally to our defense if we ever get sued for publishing copyrighted works of fraud.

Like this one:

Subject: LEGAL ASSISTANCE

From: “Sinji Okadashi” <academichembeijing@hotmail.com>

Dear Legal Counsel,

I provided a business loan of $578,000  to an individual ( Joe Hamilton )who is a Businessman and owns a company in your jurisdiction(state). The loan was for  a fixed term of  24 months and interest rate of 7.75%. The capital and interest was supposed to be paid after maturity which was on April 19th 2010 but up till now, We have only received a portion of the loan ($168,816.90)as a substantial portion is still in default status,Let me know if you can help me in this regards.

Best Regards

Sinji Okadashi

We checked the headers and this was never anywhere near hotmail.com (or live.com which is where Hotmail lives now). We don’t know of a legitimate reason for spoofing a “From:” address so we’d call this fraud.

We’d also indict this one based on the quality of the punctuation. If you have relevant experience, please comment on whether or not it’s common to receive messages regarding half million dollar business loans from people who:

  1. have a hotmail.com address
  2. use such weird punctuation

This next one originated from the same server as the first

bas21-toronto12-1279680647.dsl.bell.ca

but it’s pretending to be from asia.com.

Subject: Legal Inquiry

From: “Kim Nguyen” <kimnguyen_sparks@asia.com>

Dear councel,

my name is kim nguyen spark. i am contacting your law firm with regards to a divorce settlement with my ex husband larry spark who reside in you jurisdiction. we had an out of cour agreement for him to pay me the amount of  580,000.00 dollars at this time have only recieved the amount of 80,000.00 dollars. I am seeking the help of your law firm to collect the balance from him. he has agreed to pay me the money. but have been inconsistant with the date. I believe that with the help of your law firm he will be willing to pay in order to avoid litigation, i am currently on assignment in japan.

I look forward to your response on this matter.

Thanks.

The fact that this one also has a spoofed address AND comes from the same original server as the one above solidifies the case against both. (They were probably sent from a zombied home computer, the hostname indicates that it’s a Bell Canada server.)

We’re still puzzling over whether it’s the same sender. The messages were sent one day apart so it’s possible that the sender went from not being able to spell or capitalize English correctly to just having major punctuation issues overnight. On the other hand it could be two different people working the same scam.

Again, if you’d like to comment on how often you receive email from people who can’t spell or capitalize Counsel and type in all lower case (excluding your kids of course) we’d love to hear it.

Finally, like before we have Asian sounding senders requesting legal help in the USA. Your jurisdiction, to be specific. Wait, is that really specific? Anyway, our original advice still holds:

Beware of Asians trying to collect debts.

Care to comment on how much of your practice is dedicated to debt collecting for Asian clients?

If you’re tired of seeing this kind of junk in your in-box you should try our spam filtering service.

Updated 11/8/2010 with another example:

Subject: Legal Services Needed

From: dennispoonweltronics@cabanova.com

To: undisclosed-recipients:;

Weltronics Component Ltd
1101-1102 Tower 1 Cheung Sha Wan Plaza
833 Cheung Sha Wan Rd Kln
Hong Kong
Tel:(852) 2410 0623
Fax:(852) 2410 0920
Web:www.weltronics.com

Attention:

Request for Legal assistance.

This is an official request for legal representation on behalf of
Weltronics Component Ltd. Our company’s principal activity is to sell and develop electronics components and other peripheral equipment. The Electronic parts division deals in semiconductors and EMS for personal computers,and general electronic parts.


The Information equipment division sells personal computers and computer peripheral equipment.

We are presently incapacitated due to international legal boundaries to exert pressure on our delinquent customers and we request for your services accordingly. We got your contact information from the Online Lawyers Directory as a result of our search for a reliable firm or individual to provide legal services as requested.

After a careful review of your profile as well as your qualification and experience, we are of the opinion that you are capable and qualified to provide the legal services as requested.

On behalf of Weltronics Component Ltd  , Please accept my sincerest appreciation in advance for your willingness to render your services as we look forward to your prompt response to our request.

Yours truly,

Denis Poon.

President

Updated 11/11/2010 with another example:

Subject: From Avocate J Paul.

From: Avocate J Paul <o.rita2@btinternet.com>

To: undisclosed recipients: ;

Dear Sir,
Please I am seeking your assistance to invest my late client’s daughter inheritance in business in your country.
The main aims of contacting you are to assist my late client’s daughter in few ways (1) to assist her transfer her inheritance to your account. If possible you can set up a special account on your name. After the fund will be transferred to your account she will come to your country to continue her education. (2)To help her have a stay in your country when she will come over to meet with you and continue her education (3) to help her manage the investment until she is old enough to handle it.
Upon your response I will give you all the details procedures on how to go about this investment but I can guarantee that all will be handled according to law.
I would like to let you know that she is willing to give you 15% of total amount for your assistance and before procession of this investment I will draft an agreement between you and her for good understanding.
Your immediately response will be highly appreciated.
Thanks and God bless you.
Best regard
Avocate J Paul

We liked this one because it demonstrates that if you want to make your document look like legalese you need to (1) use numbers enclosed in parentheses (2) call yourself an “avocate”.

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