Counterfeit Check Scam
Staff, Staff | April 18, 2011
Scammer makes contact by email, claiming to be a credit/finance manager in a Chinese auto body parts manufacturing company with extensive past due receivables in the US;
This scammer is persistent and sends more than one email. The company is legitimate and responds to the email;
Scammer negotiates an hourly fee arrangement, signs and returns a fee agreement requiring a deposit against fees and costs of $15k (the scam could easily have a variation without the fee deposit);
Scammer claims that wiring “only” $15k out of China is too much hassle and takes too long, and is a major paperwork headache, and proposes to have a US based “customer” of theirs pay them by paying the fees/costs deposit, and asks to be notified when their check is received so their A/R for the customer may be properly credited;
Check arrives about 10 days later from “customer”, which is a legitimate Long Island, NY auto body parts wholesaler, but the envelope is a plain white envelope mailed from Canada with a postage stamp. Inquiry reveals this “customer” has no operations or offices in Canada. Further, the check is for $264,000 USD, and was accompanied by an “invoice” copy showing the “customer” was paying for electronic components, not auto body parts. Finally, the check was an HSBC bank check, and inquiry to HSBC before depositing the check determined it had an account number which is not one used by HSBC and was a counterfeit bank check, according to HSBC.
The scam attempt is concluded a day later when the attorney receives an email from the “client” asking that I immediately remit most of the difference between the $264k check and the agreed upon $15k fee/costs deposit. If this occurs, the Client Trust Account would be wiped out when the counterfeit HSBC check was refused by HSBC, leaving the firm liable for the missing funds.