Alerts

Warning: Emails misusing the name of Lucie Stewart and Machins Solicitors LLP

19 June 2017

Firms of solicitors have received emails falsely claiming to be from Lucie Stewart of Machins Solicitors LLP regarding a conveyancing matter.

What is the scam?

The SRA has been informed that firms of solicitors have received emails falsely claiming to be from Lucie Stewart of Machins Solicitors LLP. The emails claim to relate to a conveyancing matter and contain an attachment which may contain malware.

The emails seen by the SRA have been sent from the email address "gbuswoods@gmail.com" with the display name "Machins Solicitors LLP". The email footer includes the genuine website address, SRA number and VAT number of the genuine firm (see below). The email footer also includes a telephone number of 01582 514 394, which is a genuine number for a genuine member of staff at Machins Solcitors LLP.

The email footer falsely claims that the genuine solicitor is a "Legal Assistant" at the genuine firm, when that is not her correct role (see below).

The footer also falsely includes a telephone number of "01582 522 000" (which the SRA understands is the genuine general enquiries number for Luton Crown Court), a fax number of "01582 532 000" and a DX address of "5724 Luton". None of these details are correct details for the genuine firm.

Any business or transactions through the email address "gbuswoods@gmail.com", telephone number "01582 522 000", fax number "01582 532 000" and DX "5724 Luton" is not undertaken by a solicitor's practice or an individual authorised and regulated by the SRA.

Update – 24 July 2017

The SRA has received information that emails are continuing to be sent that falsely claim to be from Lucie Stewart of Machins Solicitors LLP, in relation to a memorandum of sale. A recent email seen by the SRA was sent from the email address "graminterserv@gmail.com" using the display name "Machins Solicitors LLP".

The recent email continues to misuse the genuine address of the genuine firm and the direct contact number of a genuine member of staff. However, in addition the email also provides a supposed DX address of "5414 Luton", a phone number of "01582 529 000" and a fax number of "01582 547 000".

Any business or transactions through the email address, phone number, fax number and DX address set out above are not undertaken by a solicitor authorised or regulated by the SRA.

The genuine firm and the genuine Lucie Stewart have confirmed that they continue to have no connection to these emails.

Is there a genuine firm or person?

Machins Solicitors LLP is a genuine firm that is authorised and regulated by the SRA. The firm's genuine head office telephone number is 01582 514 000 and the firm's genuine fax number is 01582 535 000. The firm's genuine head office DX address is: 5924 Luton.

The SRA authorise and regulate a genuine solicitor called Lucie Stewart, who is an Assistant Solicitor at the genuine firm of Machins Solicitors LLP.

Both the genuine Lucie Stewart and the genuine firm have confirmed that they have no connection to the emails referred to in the above alert.

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.