Emails misusing the names "Hart Brown Solicitors" and "Oliver Andrews"
23 December 2016
Emails have been sent which fraudulently claim to be from "Oliver Andrews" at "Hart Brown Solicitors".
What is the scam?
The SRA has been informed that emails have been sent which fraudulently claim to be from "Oliver Andrews" at "Hart Brown Solicitors".
The emails claim to enclose draft contract documentation and a memorandum of sale, which may contain malware if opened.
The email the SRA has seen claims to have been sent from "Hart Brown Solicitors", but it was sent from the email address "email@example.com".
The fraudulent email includes a genuine address, website address and SRA identification number for the genuine firm (see below).
Any business or transactions through the email addresses "firstname.lastname@example.org" are not undertaken by a solicitor's practice or an individual authorised and regulated by the SRA.
Is there a genuine firm or person?
Hart Brown (trading as Hart Brown Solicitors) is a genuine firm which is authorised and regulated by the SRA.
The SRA does authorise and regulate a solicitor called Oliver Andrews. However, he does not work at Hart Brown.
The genuine firm does have a branch office at 7 Guildford Road, Woking, Surrey GU22 7PX. That office is authorised and regulated by the SRA with the SRA identification number 50792.
The genuine Hart Brown have confirmed that they do not have any connection to the fraudulent emails or telephone calls referred to above.
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.