Alerts

Warning: Correspondence misusing the name of Bates Wells & Braithwaite London LLP

Letters and emails falsely claiming to be from Bates Wells & Braithwaite London LLP, relating to a purported inheritance or an outstanding invoice.

What is the scam?

The SRA has received information that several individuals have received letters sent in the name of "Godson Solbes", falsely claiming to be from Bates Wells & Braithwaite London LLP. The letter relates to a purportedly unclaimed inheritance.

A letter seen by the SRA states that "Godson Solbes" is a solicitor dealing with the estate of an individual, who shares the same surname as the recipient of the letter. The letter states that the deceased has left an estate of £9,500,000.

The letter gives the email address of "godsonsolbes@email.com" and a contact number of +44 7537 185969.  It also gives the address of a genuine firm of solicitors (see below).

The SRA has been advised that another member of the public has received a separate email purporting to be from Bates Wells & Braithwaite London LLP, referring to an unpaid invoice. This email claims to have a copy of the unpaid invoice attached. A concern is that the attachment may contain malware.

The SRA has been advised that the email concerning the unpaid invoice was sent from the email address "morello@gni.com.ar", and that it gives the telephone number +44 (02) 7839 9231.

The SRA does not authorise or regulate any individual with the name Godson Solbes.

Any business or transactions conducted through the email addresses "godsonsolbes@email.com" or "morello@gni.com.ar" or telephone numbers +44 7537 185969 or +44 (02) 7839 9231 are not undertaken by a solicitor's practice or an individual authorised or regulated by the SRA.

Is there a genuine firm or person?

Bates Wells & Braithwaite London LLP is a genuine firm of solicitors which is authorised and regulated by the SRA.

The genuine firm does have a genuine office address at: 10 Queen Street Place, London, EC4R 1BE.

Bates Wells & Braithwaite London LLP confirm that it has no connection to the emails referred to above, nor does it employ anyone with the name Godson Solbes.

The SRA also authorises and regulates two other firms named Bates Wells & Braithwaite, based in Ipswich and Sudbury respectively.  Both firms confirm that they have no connection to the emails referred to above, and that they do not employ anyone with the name Godson Solbes.

The firm has posted a warning about hoax communications on its website.

What should I do?

When a firm's or individual's identity has been copied exactly (or cloned), due diligence is necessary. If you receive correspondence claiming to be from the above firm(s) or individual(s), or information of a similar nature to that described, you should conduct your own due diligence by checking the authenticity of the correspondence by contacting the law firm directly by reliable and established means. You can contact the SRA to find out if individuals or firms are regulated and authorised by the SRA and verify an individual's or firm's practising details. Other verification methods, such as checking public records (e.g. telephone directories and company records) may be required in other circumstances.

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