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Irish law firm targeted in 419 fraud

We've all heard about the 'Nigerian 419' email scams – a large stash of money in return for handing over your bank account details – however they usually involve the funds of some deceased African dictator. This week however we received our first one involving a law firm – a real law firm as it happens, the Irish and international practice of Arthur Cox. What is interesting about this scam is the fraudster has done his (or her) homework as the message uses the firm's real London address and the message purports to come from a consultant who really does work in the London office. The giveaways include the email address – if the transaction is '100% legal' as the message claims – why does the good professor not use his @arthurcox.com address? – and the bizarre language.

It's a fraud so be on your guard – here is the text…

Arthur Cox Solicitors
29 Ludgate Hill
London EC4M 7JE
England.
Tel: +44-702-403-6906
Email:robert_clark_solicitors2004@lawfirmassociation.com

How are you doing today? I hope my email reached you in the
right frame of mind and good Health. On behalf of the Trustees
of Arthur Cox Solicitors and Executor of the last wishes of
Late Mr. Williams Cole, I have decided to solicit for your
assistance in carrying out the Last wishes of my late client,
Late Engr. Williams Cole who died of Esophageal Cancer in July,
2004.My Late client had no wife and children and his only survi
ving relative passed on Last year.

According to the wishes of Late Mr. Williams Cole, 55% of the funds
should go to any charity organization or to the Needy/poor, while the
rest 45% should be for the beneficiary of the funds which is you if
interested.It is very obvious that Mr. Williams Cole wanted these
funds to be used for humanitarian purposes. What a Great Man! Be Rest
assured that this transaction is 100% Legal as I will provide you with
all necessary documentations for the release of the funds.

Endeavour to get back to me as soon as possible to enable me conclude
my Job.I hope to hear from you in no distant time.Please send me an
email to my personal email address at
robert_clark_solicitors2004@lawfirmassociation.com

Yours in Service,
Prof. Robert Clark{ESQ}
Arthur Cox Solicitors
Email:robert_clark_solicitors2004@lawfirmassociation.com

9 replies on “Irish law firm targeted in 419 fraud”

Sadly we have received numerous examples of this new wave of 'sophisticated' 419 emails since the start of the year.
On the one hand it is quite amusing that whilst these people are prepared to put in the effort to research the background for their emails, happily they remain incapable of stringing together a few words of plain English.
On the other hand, it is less amusing that when we pass along emails containing UK mobile phone numbers that actually get answered, the police have absolutely no interest in investigating the matter.
At some point the police (or the Home Office) are going to have to realise that, as more and more of the nation's commerces moves online, they cannot continue to treat e-crime/fraud as something 'special' to be left to a tiny, under-resourced unit focussed on a handful of high-value/high-profile operations.
The online gold-rush has come and gone, so why does it still feel like the wild west out there?

I cannot help but ask what type of person would actually fall for something like this? I'm not dismissing the quality or research involved in the scam but the mind of the individual who's greedy or dumb enough to be bothered to reply and get suckered in. As pointed out there are a number of things that don't feels right about the email: the reply address (his work one is in quite a different format), grammar (“Be rest assured”), the registrar of http://www.lawfirmassociation.com (www.melbourneit.com) etc.
Why on earth would “the beneficiary of the funds which is you if interested” be true and why is Mr Williams Cole such a humanitarian? Mr Williams Cole also appears in another scam: http://www.the-world-in-focus.com/Zygotes/scams/williamscole.html
The point is that the scammers are seeing how gullible you may be but mostly how greedy you could be.
Feeling sorry for victims of these scams is like trying to drum up sympathy for prize winners of the Darwin awards: difficult.

This is the next letter u get after u reply with name/address/ Occupation/Age
____________________________________________________
ARTHUR COX SOLICITORS
29 Ludgate Hill
London EC4M 7JE
England.
Tel:+44-702-403-6906
Dear Christopher Lee Pelfrey,
Top of the day to you from the Chambers of Prof. Robert Clark of Arthur Cox Solicitors,London, England.
Note that you are entitled to 45% of the Total funds but the rest 55% is for setting up a Charity Organization in the name of my Late Client.This is the instruction given to us by Late Mr. Williams Cole before his demise.
Find below the Application Letter which you are to email to the Bank alongside the Scanned Copy of your letter of Administration issued by the probate registry, confering on you the beneficiary rights in relation to the investment as stated in Engr. wiliams Cole Will.
Send the below application via email directly to the Bank.
===========================================================
BARCLAYS BANK PLC
Finance Director.
Mr. Mark Richardson.
Address:1 Churchill Place,London, E14 5HP
FAX:+44-700-596-8382
TEL:+44-704-571-8832
E-mail:accounts.dept@barclays-bank-plc.cbank.co.uk
Dear Sir,
NOTIFICATION /APPLICATION FOR THE REMITTANCE/RELEASE OF THE PROCEEDINGS DEPOSITED WITH ACCOUNT NUMBER 122-***- ***/BARCLAYS FOR THE TOTAL SUM OF £7,500,000GPB( SEVEN MILLION,FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND GREAT BRITAIN POUNDS).
I will be most grateful if you can furnish me with your proceedures for this transfer of the proceeds of the abovementioned account to me as the Next of kin. My contact information is below.
NAME IN FULL:
CONTACT ADDRESS:
TEL/FAX:
EMAIL:
AGE/OCCUPATION:
Also attached to this email are necessary documents authenticating my position as beneficiary of the funds.I anticipate your kind consideration in this matter.
Yours faithfully,
===================================================
Ensure to follow the Instructions given to you by the Bank so that the transfer process can be hitch-free.I wish you the very best of Luck and please be very confident when contacting the Bank.
Thanks and Have a Nice Day.
Yours in Service,
Prof. Robert Clark
Arthur Cox Solicitors
PS: Kindly acknowledge the receipt of this email.

This is the next one on there list.
____________________________________________________
Barclays Bank plc
Registered Office:
1 Churchill Place,London, E14 5HP.
Registered in England and Wales no. 1026167.
Tel:+44-704-571-8832
Reference:122-142- 050/BARCLAYS
Date:February 21st,2008
Attention: Christopher Lee Pelfrey,
Welcome to Barclays Bank Plc online services where e-banking is made easy. Barclays Bank Plc is authorized and regulated by the Financial Services Authority.
The Accounts department wishes to inform you that we have received your Application Letter for the release of £7,500,000 (Seven Million, Five Hundred Thousand Pounds Sterlings) to you before the confiscation of the funds by the British Treasury.
We have just called the Justice Department to confirm the Authenticity of the Letter of Administration and they have confirmed that you have been cleared as the Beneficiary of the funds.Meanwhile,we have already commenced the Activation/Clearance Procedures which should take 18 Hours to conclude.
After the Activation/Clearance Process,the funds will be ready for release to you.We will furnish you with the Wire Transfer Options for the transfer of the funds as soon as the Activation/Clearance Procedure is concluded.
***Note:That you are expected to provide a scanned copy of any form of Identification e.g Identity Card or Driver's Licence for security purposes.
***ALSO NOTE THAT YOU ARE TO CONFIRM THE RECEIPT OF THIS E-MAIL AND INFORMATIONS AND ALSO INFORM US OF HOW MUCH YOU WANT REMITTED INSTALMENTALLY OR FULLY.
This is in accordance with section 13(1)(n) of the National finance Act as adopted in 1993 and amended on 3RD July 1996 by the constitutional assembly.This is to protect and to avoid misappropriation of funds.
The Financial Services Authority is the independent regulator set up by Government to look after the financial services industry and protect consumers. Contact the undersigned below to be privy to the above information .
Contact us on +44-704-571-8832 for 24- Hours Accounts Services.
Thank you for your patronage.
Treat with Dispatch,
Mr. Mark Richardson
(Online Transfers Dept.)
Barclays Bank Plc
___________________________________________________
This is the Last one ive gottin
___________________________________
Date:February 23rd,2008
Attention: Esteemed Customer,
Welcome to Barclays Bank Plc online services where e-banking is made easy. Barclays Bank Plc is authorized and regulated by the Financial Services Authority.
The Accounts department wishes to inform you that we have concluded the Activation/Clearance Process and the release of £7,500,000 (Seven Million, Five Hundred Thousand Pounds Sterlings) to you.You are expected to select a suitable/affordable Wire Transfer Option for the transfer of the above-mentioned funds to you.
{1}3-DAYS WIRE TRANSFER SERVICE:
Insurance…………………….£350.75
Vat…………………………..£300.00
TOTAL……………………….£650.75
{2}5-DAYS WIRE TRANSFER SERVICE:
Insurance…………………….£350.75
Vat………………………….£200.00
TOTAL……………………….£550.75
{3}7-DAYS WIRE TRANSFER SERVICE:
Insurance…………………….£250.75
Vat…………………………..£200.00
TOTAL……………………….£450.75
Go to http://www.xe.com for Currency Conversion.
You are expected to select an option from the ones outlined above for the easy transfer of the funds to you.Note:That the Funds/Account with us is protected by a hardcover insurance policy, which makes it impossible to deduct any amount from the money before it has been remitted to you.The payment must be made by you the Beneficiary of the Account and no one else.
This is in accordance with section 13(1)(n) of the National finance Act as adopted in 1993 and amended on 3RD July 1996 by the constitutional assembly.This is to protect and to avoid misappropriation of funds.
The Financial Services Authority is the independent regulator set up by Government to look after the financial services industry and protect consumers. Contact the undersigned below to be privy to the above information .
Contact us on +44-704-571-8832 for 24- Hours Accounts Services.
Thank you for your patronage.
Treat with Dispatch,
Mr. Mark Richardson
(Online Transfers Dept.)
Barclays Bank Plc
____________________________________________
And some how i got this as well
_________________________________________
UNDER SUPERVISION BY;
FBI BRANCH LOCATED IN THE
UNITED KINGDOM.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation located in London,England under the supervision of the F.B.I Headquarters enlisted above wishes to inform you that we were informed of your ongoing transaction with Prof. Robert Clark located in London,England in the transfer of the total sum of SEVEN MILLION, FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND POUNDS STERLINGS to you as the Beneficiary of the funds.
We have checked the Background of this transaction and have come to the conclusion that the Transaction is 100% Legal as we have worked hand-in-hand with the Metropolitan Police in United Kingdom to ensure that it is being backed by the Government through the Financial Services Authority.
Furthermore,If you do not wish to have problems with the Government when the funds have been released to you,it is imperative that you follow every Instructions given to you by the Bank transferring the funds so that all International Banking regulations can be followed to avoid future problems.
We sure hope that we have cleared all doubts as regards the receipt of your money from London and do not hesitate to follow all rules and regulations given to you for the transfer.
Thanks for your Co-operation and we hope to serve you better.
Mrs. Naomi Maples.
Internet/Cybercrimes Department
J. Edgar Hoover Building
935 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20535-0001

LOL 🙂
FBI in London, England; makes you feel warm and safe! I'll be getting in touch with Mr Arthur 'top of the day to you' Cox myself 😉
Interesting stuff, thank you Chris.

If you do a “whois” look up on the domain name of his email address you get:
Domain Name: LAWFIRMASSOCIATION.COM
Registrar: MELBOURNE IT, LTD. D/B/A INTERNET NAMES WORLDWIDE
Whois Server: whois.melbourneit.com
Referral URL: http://www.melbourneit.com
Name Server: NS1.OFFICELIVE.COM
Name Server: NS2.OFFICELIVE.COM
Status: clientTransferProhibited
Updated Date: 18-oct-2007
Creation Date: 18-oct-2007
Expiration Date: 18-oct-2008
Someone paid for this registration … how difficult is it for the police or whoever to find out who?
Just a thought.

We did actually inform Arthur Cox about this con – but needless to say they haven't had the courtesy to acknowledge our warning.

I would guess exactly the same difficulty police have when anything is bought using stolen credit cards anonymously…

Melbourneit.com has turned up as the domain seller in a number of scam cases i've looked into. I've got the impression they are popular due to the anonymity they provide; read “Avoid them like the plague “.

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