Fraudulent Cheque Scams
Posted on 28th October 2022 at 15:05
Bogus creditors (clients) target international debt collections agencies to recover large amounts of money from bogus debtors.
The scam is aimed to work on the basis that the debtor issues an international cheque which is automatically credited to the debt collection company but actual funds will have not cleared. The bogus client then requests that net proceeds to be transferred after commission deductions within a few days of receipt of the cheque. A few days later, the cheque is dishonoured and the funds are taken back by the issuing bank leaving the debt collection agency with a large deficit in their account.
Please see a recent case below:
Original Request / sales lead from creditor:
Contact Name: Rimba Ramelan
Email: [email protected] Tel: 01 664 204 6027
"We are in search of a goal oriented and competent individual, company or competent firm in North America to act as our Credit and Collections
Facilitator/Representative in North America to help us recover and handle funds from customer,
If interested kindly contact for more information"
The 'creditor' then claimed to represent a company in Indonesia below.
PT Emarn Construction
Jl. Raya Casablanca No.18, RT.4/RW.12,
Menteng Dalam, Kec. Tebet,
Kota Jakarta Selatan,
Daerah Khusus Ibukota
Jakarta 12870, Indonesia.
The creditor then explains that they have a debt for USD 750,000 a USA debtor as outlined below and provides documentation to support this.
The Rising Company
932 Lodgeville Road, Minneapolis, MN 55401, USA
Contact: Tyler Finley
Our USA debt collection partner swiftly followed up with the debtor who initially said they were having financial difficulties but would send payment proposal soon.
Our USA partner spoke with the 'debtor' a few times and a cheque soon arrived for USD 491,600.00 as a partial payment.
Our USA partner suspected this was fraudulent straight away for the following reasons:
It is actually from a Canadian bank and came from Canada. The alleged debtor is located in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Regarding the cheque and letter received:
The person spelled his last name two different ways in the letter.
He also spelled his first name differently to that in the email.
The cheque also has extra digits after the account number, which is odd.
The bank address location was spelt incorrectly.
The cheque is printed on the same cheque stock that are used to print cheques-by-phone, which anyone can buy from Amazon.
Our USA partner's finance Team reached out to their bank to see if they could do anything to validate the cheque who agreed that the cheque looks sketchy and we should not deposit the cheque.
It was also noticed early on that Tyler Finley’s Area Code is a Georgia Area Code and his email signature block did not contain the city in Georgia.
That, coupled with the fact how “easy” it seemed it was going to be to obtain a substantial payment, we suspected we might be dealing with a scam.
However, we wanted to wait to actually receive the cheque before reporting further.
In light of the above, our USA partner decided not to deposit the cheque.
This is a typical scam situation, which we see a couple of times a year. In these scam attempts, both the creditor and debtor are fictitious. They involve the following steps:
1. The “creditor” places a large claim for collection
2. The collection agent contacts the “debtor” (or sometimes the “debtor” contacts the agent before a demand is even made) and makes demand, as our USA partner did in this case.
3. The “debtor” responds by apologising for being delinquent and promises a quick resolution to avoid litigation (as Tyler Finley did).
4. The “debtor” then promises payment and advises the collection agent a certified cheque (or cashier’s cheque) has been mailed to the agent by courier (as Tyler Finley did).
5. A certified cheque is delivered to the agent.
6. The “creditor” then contacts the agent asking for a quick, wired/ACH’d remittance of the net proceeds of the collection, since the cheque the agent received is a certified cheque and there is really no need to wait for it to “clear” before the agent remits.
7. If the agent deposits the fraudulent cheque, deducts their fee and remits the net proceeds of the collection to the “creditor” before being notified by their bank that the cheque is fraudulent, the agent is then out the amount they remitted to the “creditor” and the scam succeeds
We then asked our Indonesia partner to investigate the 'creditor'
Our local Indonesia debt collection partner did a government search on registered companies in Indonesia and the 'creditor' company (PT Emarn Construction) is not registered in Indonesia.
We also did a LinkedIn search on both the owner and company, which also came up with a negative result which is unusual for an Indonesian company that trades internationally.
Most Indonesians who trade internationally are on LinkedIn.
In addition, the address provided by the creditor is not a place where such companies with industrial equipment reside. This address is also in the centre of Jakarta, companies dealing in industrial machinery are not located here.
Also on their website, they claim the following:
PT Emarn Construction Company (Registration Number: 19887360266, 98678-W) is a family owned and operated business, which incorporated since 1983.
The 98678-W is not correct and the 19887360266 has the right number of digits to be an Indonesian registered company but the number appears wrong. A company that only registered in December 2021 has a number of only 02122057947, so if this company has been around for so long their number should be a lot less.
The final step was to do a field/site visit to the Indonesia address. Our local Indonesia field agent spoke to reception who stated that PT Emarn Construction does not exist or it is not in the building.
In conclusion, this is a scam company who are targeting debt collection agencies. The cheque was discarded.
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