Emails falsely claiming to be from Certus Solicitors LLP
10 February 2017
Emails have been sent to law firms, falsely claiming to be from "David Cowling" of Certus Solicitors LLP, in relation to a memorandum of sale.
What is the scam?
The SRA has been informed that law firms have received an email from "David Cowling", falsely claiming to be a property solicitor at Certus Solicitors LLP. The content of the email relates to a memorandum of sale and supposedly attaches contract documentation. A concern is that the attachments may contain malware.
The emails as seen by the SRA appear to have been sent from "Certus Solicitors LLP", but have actually been sent from the email addresses:
- email@example.com and
The bogus emails may provide a footer with the genuine address and SRA number for the genuine firm (see below). The emails seen by the SRA also provide the telephone number 01274 722949 and 07808 939647, and the fax number 01274 722739.
The SRA does not authorise or regulate a solicitor named "David Cowling". Therefore any business or transactions through "David Cowling" or the email addresses or telephone / fax numbers listed above, are not undertaken by a genuine solicitor's practice or an individual authorised or regulated by the SRA.
Is there a genuine firm or person?
Certus Solicitors LLP is a genuine firm which is authorised and regulated by the SRA. The address for the genuine Certus Solicitors LLP is 33 Manor Row, Bradford, BD1 4PS. The genuine firm's telephone number is 01274 722199 and its fax number is 01274 722741.
The genuine firm has confirmed that it does not employ anyone named "David Cowling" and it has no connection to the emails referred to above.
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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