Warning: Letters claiming to be from "Karen Whelan" on behalf of Juliet Bellis & Co

2 August 2019

Letters have been sent claiming to be from "Karen Whelan", misusing the name of Juliet Bellis & Co.

What is the scam?

A letter has been sent to members of the public, claiming to be from "Karen Whelan on behalf of Juliet Bellis & Co". The letter seen by the SRA refers to the maintenance of a right of way, the need to lay a main sewer pipe and for access to a right of way to be cleared (with charges supposedly to be made for clearance of any obstructions to the right of way).

The letter misuses the names of a genuine firm of solicitors and a genuine solicitor (see below).

The letter provides supposed contact details for "Juliet Bellis & Co Solicitors" of Phoenix House, 11 Wellesley Road, Croydon, Surrey CR0 2NW, a telephone number of 0870 7039393, fax number 0870 7039394 and DX 122994 Croydon 33.

Any business or transactions conducted through "Karen Whelan at Juliet Bellis & Co" or the address, telephone, fax or DX number above are not undertaken by a solicitor’s practice or an individual authorised or regulated by the SRA.

Is there a genuine firm or person?

The SRA does authorise and regulate a firm called Juliet Bellis & Co, whose genuine head office address is 6 Windsor Road, Teddington, TW11 0SF. The firm’s genuine telephone number is 01957 733226.

The genuine firm did previously have an office at Phoenix House, 11 Wellesley Road, Croydon, Surrey CR0 2NW (and use the telephone/fax numbers referred to in the above alert), but moved in September 2008 and has not practiced from that address since then or maintained those contact numbers.

The SRA does authorise and regulate a genuine solicitor with the name Karen Whelan. She does not work at the genuine firm of Juliet Bellis & Co.

The genuine firm and the genuine solicitor Karen Whelan have confirmed that they are not connected with the letter 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.