Requests for representation in a large commercial machine purchases/transactions are a type of scam attempt that continue to circulate, with scammers using actual names and details to masquerade as legitimate companies, using various levels of sophistication. They often purport to involve construction equipment (cranes, etc.), medical (MRI machines, etc.), or marine (oil rigs, etc.), although any type of machine could be referenced. Here is one such email received:
From: Peter Seagrott [email protected]
Subject: Do You Handle P&S Agreement?
Date: January 21, 2023 at 12:43:14 AST
Attn: My name is Peter Seagrott. I got your contact through a state Attorney Directory. The reason for getting in touch with you is that we are currently looking for an attorney in your state to help close a purchase of an oil rig. Our company is based out of United States and we need a local law firm to help draft us a purchase and sale agreement.
Please let me know if this is something your firm can take up, if not then a referral will be appreciated.
Havenstraat 18, 3115 HD
We have also issued several similar alerts in the past:
- Large Construction Machine Purchase/Transaction Scam
- Large construction machine purchase scams
- Dredger purchase scam attempt from “Ken Yoshiro of Kombaa”
- Crane purchase scam attempt from “Massimo Marchetti”
These types of scam attempts are extremely common, and will send out thousands of versions of their email using hundreds of registered company names and active lawyer or broker names (pulled from online directories) to give an air of legitimacy. Although the details may reflect a legitimate company, the cheque ultimately sent to the lawyer will be bogus in the hopes that neither the lawyer nor their financial institution will be vigilant and perform the proper verification processes before the trust account is debited.
If you receive an email request similar to those outlined above, you may choose to simply dismiss and delete this email as a scam attempt, and cease all communications.
Remember that if you decide to proceed in any matter, you must always confirm a prospective client’s identification in accordance with the Client ID Regulations of the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society. Perform all searches as thoroughly as possible, be vigilant and take your time – and beware of any aggressive urgency on behalf of the other parties to complete the transaction. Be cautious with all cheques received, especially if they exceed an agreed upon amount. If you decide to proceed with a transaction, be sure to go to the bank website to verify branch transit number, address and phone number on the cheque. Wait until the bank confirms that the funds are legitimate and are safe to withdraw from the deposit. Where possible, use the Bank of Canada’s Lynx system, an electronic funds transfer system that allows large payments to be exchanged securely and immediately.
Finally, remember that links and attachments in unsolicited or unanticipated emails should also not be accessed unless the sender can be positively verified, as they may contain viruses. If a bogus attachment is opened and the user does not have anti-virus software or firewall programs on their computer, their system could be infected.
For tips to avoid being victimized, and to report or seek advice on dealing with fraud and scam attempts, contact Cynthia Nield at [email protected] or 902 423 1300, x346.