This is very interesting – an advance fee fraud scam aimed specifically at lawyers. In this twist on the classic Nigerian 419 advanced free scam, instead of the scammer being the “widow of a deposed dictator”, the supposed damsel in distress is a woman whose “divorce was finalized here in Japan”, and she “wants to retain your professional service.”
Then she goes on to tell you that under the divorce settlement, her ex-husband (who is of course now in the United States, in a location near you) is required to pay her over a million dollars, but that he made only the first payment of $150,000, and she wants you to help her get it back.
Here is the full text of the email – did you get one like it?
Subject: Re: Legal Counsel
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Your internet profile struck my interest and in view of my ongoing financial crisis, I would like to retain your professional service for a fee in respect of my divorce settlement.
My divorce was finalized in January of 2006 here in Japan, and I still haven’t received the full settlement from my ex-husband with whom I had two kids. We had an out of court Agreement and he is contractually bound to pay me the sum of $1,255,420.00USD under the agreement. In December of 2006, he made the first and only payment of $150,000.00USD and he has consistently maintained a nonchalant attitude since then.
We met here in Tokyo, Japan while he was on contract with NTT Communications Corporation and we were married for 18years before he moved back to where he currently resides.
Recently, my ex-husband claimed that he could not pay my settlement because of the economy downturn and that he lost a lot of money in 2008 during the stock market crash and I know deep in my heart that is not true for he’s got lots of money. In fact, he had concluded plans to pay me the money before he left Japan.
My attorney here who has had my case for eighteen months has advised that I seek counsel of a local attorney in your location since my ex-husband has relocated and deliberately refused to respond to his fax/email messages hence the need for this correspondence.
Though, I am feeling helpless, I am not hopeless and I would want to maintain an out-of-court settlement regardless. I am confident that only a high profiled competent attorney like you would effectively carry out this negotiation and settlement with him.
If you would let me know what your fees are, I would be more than willing to consider them to the best of my ability and retain your professional service in view of this matter.
I look forward to your response shortly.
Very truly yours,
LUO, Hong (Ms.)
Nishi Shinbashi Aiko Bldg. 4F,
1-6-15 Nishi Shinbashi, Minato-ku,
Tokyo 105-0003, Japan.
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