Email misusing the details of Alasdair Watson
11 April 2017
An email, regarding an unclaimed inheritance and falsely claiming to be from "Alasdair Watson," has been sent to a member of the public.
What is the scam?
The SRA has received a report from a member of the public that they have received an email regarding an unclaimed inheritance which falsely claims to be from "Alasdair Watson", from the firm "Alasdair Watson & Co," a firm of solicitors.
The email seen by the SRA refers to an "unclaimed asset" which was held by a former client, who had the same surname as the recipient of the email. The recipient is asked to contact Mr Watson, who is listed as being a "legal consultant" to administer the asset, as it is claimed that Mr Watson is acting as executor for the estate.
The email seen by the SRA was sent from the email address: "email@example.com", lists an office address of 139 Oakfield Road, Whickham, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE16 5RZ and provides a contact telephone number of "+44-2037-696-186".
Any business or transactions through the email address "firstname.lastname@example.org" or telephone number "+44-2037-696-186" are not undertaken by a solicitor's practice or an individual authorised and regulated by the SRA.
Is there a genuine firm or person?
The SRA does authorise and regulate a genuine lawyer named Mr Alasdair Watson who is a sole practitioner trading as "Alasdair Watson &Co". The genuine firm of "Alasdair Watson & Co" has a genuine office address of 139 Oakfield Road, Whickham, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE16 5RZ. Its genuine telephone number is 0191 488 4521.
The genuine Alasdair Watson has confirmed to the SRA that he has no connection to the email 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.