Hamilton and Hall Law Scam
Hamilton and Hall Law is the latest bogus firm to try its hand at the “great news – you’ve got shares that you didn’t even know about” scam.
Everybody likes free money so it’s quite exciting to get a phone call or email out of the blue telling you that your shares have been sold and there’s a huge pile of money just sat there waiting for you to collect. What’s even better is that you never even knew you had these shares !
The only problem is that it’s a scam. It’s not even a new scam because it has been doing the rounds for a lot of years in one form or another. Quite often the intended victim is told that the shares were floated on the Chinese stock exchange. You can count on the fingers of one hand the number of people who know how to research companies floated on the Chinese Stock Exchange.
The Hamilton and Hall Law share scam is not unique. The branding looks quite professional, but they’re using the same strategy as other share scams where they send the intended victim a summary of the sale transaction showing the huge sum of money that’s waiting to be collected and it is attached to a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) just to make them look even more professional.
The NDA has a secondary purpose. The bogus company will claim to be incorporated in a jurisdiction which the intended victim knows nothing about. The reason is because when the victim finally realises that he/she has been scammed and intends to do something about it, the bogus company will come in hard saying that the victim signed a NDA and under the laws of their jurisdiction (in the case of HAHL it is allegedly Illinois) the company will be able to sue the victim for passing on information about the transaction without their permission. They will say that the victim will definitely lose the case and face a massive order for the HAHL legal costs. You would be surprised how effective this can be in frightening the victim into doing nothing. We have had victims contacting us saying they’re afraid of being hit with big legal bills for speaking to us. We tell them we will remove all identifying marks from their documents and we will publish a warning about these scammers because we know they’re running a scam and we will call them out. We know for sure they won’t want to go anywhere near a courtroom.
We’ve copied the Hamilton and Hall Law share scam document below (with any identifying information redacted to protect the identity of the intended victim who sent it to us).
Here’s a typical email from a man at Hamilton and Hall Law who is using a false name.
From: Daniel Garcia <email@example.com>
It was a pleasure to introduce our company, Hamilton & Hall Law. I wanted to summarize our initial discussion and confirm I will be calling again to answer any questions you may have.
Please find attached your Purchase Agreement Contract (PAC) as promised. It’s important that you review it and make note of any questions that you have in preparation for when I call back. This will ensure that we are able to get through all the information to avoid any delays in processing your case.
Just to reiterate my contact details, my name is Daniel Garcia, and you may find my direct line and email address below in my signature.
The PAC essentially means you are happy to exchange the shares for the stipulated compensation. If you are happy with the PAC and wishing to proceed before I contact you back, simply sign and return the agreement.
I look forward to speaking with you again, if you need to reschedule please reply to this email or give me a call. If I don’t hear from you then I will as mention, call again.
Here’s his contact details
You’ll note that there is no request for the intended victim to pay anything at this stage. These kinds of scams are designed to make the intended victim respond and that gets them on the hook. Then the scammer will befriend them and be their best buddy. At some point they’ll ask the intended victim to make a payment. It’s usually described as “local income tax” or “a withholding tax or share tax”. A popular phrase they like to use is that it is ‘chinese withholding tax’ so if you ever see that phrase you can be 100% certain it is a scam.
The intended victim normally says something like “that’s fine – you can take it out of the money you are holding for me”, but they’re used to that response. Their stock answer is that the laws in their jurisdiction do not allow for that. The tax has to be paid separately in advance before they can release the large sum. Once the victim pays money over they will never hear from the scammers again unless they think the victim is a soft touch. Then they will make some excuse for needing another payment. We have known scammers to go back several times if the victim is particularly vulnerable.
So there’s another warning sign. If you are ever told that it is not possible to take the ‘tax or admin fees or escrow fees’ out of the large sum you can be sure it is a scam.
The Hamilton and Hall Law website was established only a few months ago in December 2019. Whilst the bogus company claims to be based in Illinois with a USA phone number it is noticeable that the email address used by the founder of the website is firstname.lastname@example.org i.e it is in Russia. We’ve seen yandex.ru used by scammers in the past. For example, it was a favourite of serial scammer Renwick Haddow who had a very successful scamming career in the UK until he decided to try his hand in the USA. That was a mistake. The SEC and FBI are very good at catching scammers.
Don’t be tempted to pay any money to Hamilton and Hall Law. It’s a scam and they will definitely steal your money.