Collection frauds against lawyers

Over the last while we have seen an increasing number of attempted frauds against lawyers.   Most are a scheme where a new client wants help to collect a debt.   The debt gets collected - by way of a fraudulent cheque - and pressure is put on to pay the funds to the client before the cheque clears. The fraudsters are getting more sophisticated in their approach.  See, for example, this article by Dan Pinnington on Slaw  that describes an actual situation.

The fraudsters sometimes use spam techniques.  For example, this email - supposedly from a company in Hong Kong - was caught in my spam filter today.

Dear Sir,

The purpose of this email is to inform you that we found your web profile very interesting and would like to enter into a one year Attorney-Client Retainer agreement with you as our accredited Attorney to collect my company's several overdue accounts receivable from our debtors in that region.

IN GENERAL, you shall have all of the responsibilities, duties, powers and authorities which are consistent with your position as our accredited agent solely for debt collection.
It is our opinion that your ability to consolidate payments will eradicate delays and a proper retainer agreement will provide the necessary service. We are most inclined to commence talks with you on this matter as soon as possible.
Your consideration of our request is highly anticipated as we look forward to your prompt response.
For further information, please call during office hours or send a fax anytime or email. 


The most obvious clue that this is not legtimate (in addition to our spam filter realizing it is spam) is that if they had actually checked my web profile, it says nothing to suggest that my practice deals with collections or litigation.

GeneralDavid Canton