Warning: Email misusing the name of Osborne Clarke LLP
26 March 2018
An email has been sent, falsely claiming to be from Osborne Clarke LLP, in relation to an unclaimed inheritance.
What is the scam?
The SRA has been informed that an email has been sent to a member of the public, falsely claiming to be from Kevin Barrow of Osborne Clarke. The email relates to an unclaimed inheritance of a previously unknown individual, with the same surname as the recipient of the email.
The email seen by the SRA appears to have been sent by "Nick Williams" but was in fact sent from the email address, "email@example.com".
Any business or transactions through the email address "firstname.lastname@example.org" is not undertaken by a solicitor’s practice or an individual authorised and regulated by the SRA.
Is there a genuine firm or person?
Osborne Clarke LLP is a genuine firm which is authorised and regulated by the SRA. Kevin Barrow is a genuine solicitor who is authorised and regulated by the SRA and works at the genuine firm.
Russell Cooke LLP is a genuine firm which is authorised and regulated by the SRA. Stephen Small is a genuine solicitor who is authorised and regulated by the SRA and works at the genuine firm.
The SRA also authorises and regulates a number of solicitors called Nicholas Williams, none of whom are employed by the genuine firms Osborne Clarke LLP or Russell Cooke LLP.
Both the genuine solicitors Kevin Barrow and Stephen Small, and the genuine firms Osborne Clarke LLP and Russell Cooke LLP confirm that they have no connection to the emails 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.