Fraud Alert: September 16, 2008

BC law firm victim of counterfeit cheque scam

September 16, 2008

The Law Society has learned that a BC law firm has fallen victim to a sophisticated counterfeit cheque scam. No clients have been affected by the scheme; however, the firm will suffer a loss.

The scheme was similar to the one described in the July 2008 edition of Practice Watch and an earlier Notice to Profession. The fraudster requested the firm’s help in recovering a debt. The firm issued a demand letter to the "debtor," resulting in payment of nearly the full amount of the demand by certified cheque, made out to the law firm in trust. Assuming the certified cheque was legitimate, the firm transferred the funds to the "client," only to discover later that the cheque was counterfeit.

What can you do you protect yourself? Consult the following Law Society publications for tips and information on counterfeit scams:

How fraudsters use your trust account — counterfeit cheques and bank draft scams, Practice Watch (July 2008)
Counterfeit bank drafts — yet another trust account scam, Notice to Profession (May 2008)