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The perpetrators of the false check scam have started using methods that are a little more sophisticated.  The fraudsters are now using the name(s) of real people, mostly in the United Kingdom. Two of the recent names being used are Dr. Timothy Perrin, an Oncologist in Leeds, England, and Dr. Andrew Cowley, a Pediatrician in Wales. We have no reason to believe that the real Drs. Perrin and Cowley are involved in this scam in any way.

The fraudsters are contacting real estate brokers in the United States asking for assistance in finding property to purchase. They have a “financial broker” send information to the real estate broker showing that they have the financial ability to buy the property. They then ask for referral to an attorney.

Once the fraudsters have the attorney’s contact information, they often ask for a retainer agreement, and send a check (usually a Cashier’s check mailed from Canada) for the entire purchase price, or more. The fraudsters ask that the attorney deposit the check into his or her trust account immediately, and let them know when it has been deposited.

If the attorney follows these instructions, the fraudster will then manufacture a reason why all or part of the money should be wired to an account in a foreign bank, usually in Asia. A few days or weeks later, the attorney will be notified by his or her bank that the check was fake, and their trust account is now short by hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Please don’t become a victim of this scam! Verify with your bank, and the issuing bank, that the check is real, before depositing it. Better yet, require that purchasers who fit facts similar to these wire funds to your account and don’t accept a check. Do not disburse any funds until you are positive the check was real and the funds are cleared and are not subject to recall.