Suppose you are hard at work doing your lawyer stuff one day and you get this e-mail:
I need your legal assistance. I provided a friend of mine Mr Philip Anderson a business loan in the amount of $350,000. He needed this loan to complete an ongoing project he was handling in 2009. Mr Anderson is well based in your city and the loan was for 24 months and interest rate of 7.85%. The capital and interest were supposed to be paid on April 15th, 2011 but Mr Anderson has only paid $50,000.
Please let me know if this falls within the scope of your practice so that I can provide you with the loan documents and any further information you need to know.
You think "Whoopee! New business. Just what I need." At least that's what I thought today, when I got this very e-mail.
You should wait a minute. It's a scam. See here for a description. Apparently, this has been circulating for some time.
Here's how it works, courtesy of AvoidAClaim Blog:
"In this type of scam a lawyer is contacted to help an overseas lender collect on a business debt from a purported borrower in the lawyer’s jurisdiction. The fraudster will provide documentation about the loan. A retainer agreement will be signed, but the fraudster will delay in paying the retainer fee. Instead, the lawyer will be asked to deduct any fees from the debt payment.
When the lawyer has sent a demand letter (or sometimes, before any letter has been sent) a cheque will arrive. The lawyer will be asked to deposit the cheque in the trust account and wire the balance (after fees are deducted) to an overseas account. Of course, the cheque is fraudulent and the lawyer will be left with a shortfall in the trust account."
And then, sure enough, something that sounded too good to be true, was.