Fraud Alert: March 4, 2021

Random calls and emails inquiring about shelf companies

BC lawyers have reported receiving random phone calls and emails from individuals who ask if they have shelf companies for sale, or ask for referrals to other law firms for the same purpose. In some instances, the individual making the inquiry says they need the company to be incorporated in BC or Alberta before January 2020, to support a financing transaction or backdate invoices. In other instances, the individual says they are looking for companies incorporated before 2020 in any Canadian province or territory, without providing a reason. Callers may supply a “company acquisition form” for the seller to complete with information about the company. They may also refer to receiving more information from their executive assistant or associate.

Fraudsters may attempt to use shelf companies to deceive unsuspecting third parties into believing that a company has been in operation for a number of years when, in reality, it hasn’t been used since its formation. Be on guard against being used to facilitate dishonesty, crime or fraud (BC Code rule 3.2-7 and commentaries and Law Society Rule 3-109).

If you have received an inquiry about selling shelf companies or other potential scams, please feel welcome to contact Barbara Buchanan, QC at or 604.697.5816.