Warning: Correspondence misusing the details of John Verrall & Co
22 February 2018
The SRA has been informed that a faxed letter has been sent concerning an unclaimed inheritance which has misused the details of a closed law firm.
What is the scam?
The SRA has received information that an individual has received a letter sent by fax, falsely claiming to be from the firm of John Verrall & Co. The letter relates to an unclaimed inheritance.
The letter seen by the SRA states that “John Verrall” is a lawyer dealing with the estate and the letter states that the deceased has left an estate of 6,900,000 euros.
The letters refer to an email address of “firstname.lastname@example.org”, a telephone number of +44 778 371 6823, the fax number of +44 713 583 4332 and gives the address of a closed firm of solicitors (see below).
The SRA has also been informed that the website address referred to within the letter of “johnverralco.com” is a link to a cloned website of another genuine firm. Although the web address of “johnverralco.com” leads to a website for a firm named John Verrall & Co, it is a clone of the website for the genuine firm of John Burton Solicitors. The fake website misuses the firm fee earner profiles from the genuine firm of John Burton Solicitors.
Any business or transactions conducted through the email address of "email@example.com," the telephone number of +44 778 371 6823 and fax number of +44 713 583 4332 are not undertaken by a solicitor's practice or an individual authorised or regulated by the SRA.
Is there a genuine firm or person?
John Verrall & Co was a genuine firm authorised and regulated by the SRA which, according to SRA records, closed in January 2018.
The genuine firm of John Verrall & Co had a genuine office address of Apartment 27, 60 Park Lane, London W1K 1QD, England. The firm did not have a website.
The SRA does authorise a genuine individual named John Verrall.
The SRA also regulates and authorises a genuine firm by the name of John Burton Solicitors Limited.
Both the genuine solicitor John Verrall and the genuine firm of John Burton Solicitors Limited have confirmed that they have no connection to the letter 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.