There have been an increasing number of scams that use the names of law firms, their partners and staff fraudulently for the express purpose of extracting monies from unsuspecting recipients of emails. These relate to (but are not limited to) the following:
♦ Property transactions
♦ Bill payment fraud
♦ Advance fee/inheritance fraud
Details about property sales are largely advertised and as such are a common target for fraudsters. Other well publicised transactions or Court cases may also be targeted. Most commonly the fraudsters will seek to redirect the completion monies (or damages) using emails which appear to come from our firm. Any such email will not have come from us. If you are a client of the firm, you will have had details about payments to this firm in our engagement letter and our invoices. They will not change.
Similarly, a fraudster may seek to intercept the payment of a bill to our firm, asking that the payment be redirected to a different account. Even if it appears to come from Simkins LLP, any such email will not have come from us. We provide our payment details in our engagement letter and our invoices. They will not change.
Advance fee/inheritance frauds involve an email communication, purporting to be from a legitimate law firm, advising you that a relative has died and asking you for an advance fee to secure your claim to an inheritance. This is likely to be scam. Even if it appears to come from Simkins LLP, any such email will not have come from us.
If you have received an unexpected request purporting to be from us relating to the movement of funds, please contact the solicitor dealing with your matter. Please make sure you do so using the normal telephone number for that person or the Simkins switchboard number as set out on our website. Avoid using any number provided in any suspect or unexpected communication.
If the communication was not genuine then you should also report the incident to the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau and make an Action Fraud Report by calling +44 30 0123 2040 or via their website www.actionfraud.police.uk.
In addition to email fraud, fraudsters sometimes impersonate others to sell property they do not own. When acting on the purchase of a property, it is not our role to verify the identity of the seller, and we are not in a position to do so. We act on the basis that you have instructed us to deal in good faith with the person you have introduced to us. If you believe there is any risk the seller is not who he or she claims, you should carry out your own checks (e.g. by speaking with neighbours or the seller’s employer).