Nice try, but I know about scams already

Last week I received a call from an “attorney” calling himself David Cook, from Ontario. He asked if I was interested in collecting a $500,000 case against a local steel company. Of course I am interested! But, I don’t like pursuing a debtor without knowing my client or the forwarding attorney involved. So I decided to check Mr. Cook out on line at I reviewed his website in which he held himself out to be an expert in “most areas” of the law. I also noted the numerous grammatical and spelling errors that could not be excused as aberrations of Canadian usage. Now I am on notice that something is amiss here. I asked my secretary to call the Canadian Bar Association to see if there was a David Cook. She called and learned that they would not disclose the identity of other solicitors and barristers to those who were neither.
This morning, I received the following email from Mr. Cook:

Dear Gary,
I recieved (sic) an email this morning from Mr. Liguo regarding an email that was sent to him stateing (sic) that the payment has been sent to your office in the full amount that was requested.
According to the agreement please deduct your precentage (sic) , my client will be sending me the account information for the transfer of the balance. I will then be sending you the account information for the balance transfer.
David Cook
481 University Avenue, Suite 510
Toronto, Ontario M5G 2E9
Phone: (647) 831 6954
Fax: (416) 800 9908

Magically, I also received a check from the alleged debtor, Ideal Fabricators, for $550,700 this morning, drawn on a bank called California Bank & Trust. The package arrives from an expediter named “Purolator.” The check contains no address for Ideal Fabricators. The package has a return address of Ideal Fabricators, Inc. 481 University Ave, Mississauga, Ontario, M5G2K1. The package contains a cove letter from Ideal Fabricators (no address or telephone number on the letterhead), apologizing for the late payment, informing me that they had a bad year but are now on the road to prosperity. They wish me a good year, too. Am I going to deposit this check?? NOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!
Why not?
This is a scam. I called Ideal Fabricators. The have never head of me, Mr. Cook or the alleged creditor in this case. They never wrote such a check. OK, I think, its time to do my civic duty and get the authorities involved.
I called the F.B.I. this morning and explained that I was the target of this scam, but did not get taken. I was 1 minute into my story when the young lady told me that this is a Secret Service type of case. She gave me the phone number of that agency and I called.
The Secret Service told me that they could not do anything about this case because the alleged bad guy was in Canada. They referred me on to the Federal Trade Commission. The FTC has no more authority to after these bad guys than our heavy hitters such as the F.B.I. or the Secret Service.
Nevertheless, I tried to call the FTC, but could not get through. OK, I tried to do my duty, but no one was interested in helping me. So here I am now, telling you about this scam so I can help you.
I know that in the next few days, I am going to get a call or email from David Cook asking telling me that his client has an immediate financial need and if I would not mind wire transferring the proceeds to a certain bank for him. This is how the scam works. In ordinary circumstances, I go on line and verify whether this check has cleared or not. I will notice that it has cleared and then wire transfer this guy several hundreds of thousands of dollars. When the check comes back as no good, the bank is going to ask me to reimburse it. By not depositing this check, I am going to save a lot of nice people, some large head aches.
LAWYERS – Moral of the Story
1. Be very careful with whom you do business, especially over the internet. Everyone has a website today. Look your client or referring attorney’s website to see if it makes sense. Mr. Cook claims to be an expert in most areas of the law. Pretty impressive, huh? That alone was enough to put me on guard regarding this guy. The bad guy may have gone to great lengths to prove that he is who he purports to be, except for getting an education. “David Cook” had a website to show that he was an attorney, albeit fraught with spelling and grammatical errors.
2. Verify that the debtor actually owes money. Pick up a telephone and call the debtor that you are pursuing. In this case, the “debtor” made a $550,000 check payable to me, without even knowing who I am. I know that the holidays bring about good cheer, but even that has its limits.
3. Stay alert to little things that just don’t make sense. For instance, in this case, the client (whom I had never met), purportedly had a its debtor make a check out to me for $500,000 and told me to take my fee of 1/3 from it? Why? I have not even written a demand letter. I believe in the kindness of strangers but, again, this too, has its limits.
4. The scariest thought of this process, besides potentially getting stuck for money that you paid out to con artists, is that you do not have law enforcement agencies to help you. You are on your own. Use your wits, your intelligence and ask as many questions as you need to satisfy yourself that everyone is who they purport to be.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, December 9th, 2009 and is filed under Debt Collection Tricks and Traps . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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