Warning: Correspondence misusing the name of Mikhail Sokolov
3 May 2019
Correspondence misusing the name of Mikhail Sokolov, in relation to supposedly assisting with recovering funds from a fraudulent broker.
What is the scam?
The SRA has been informed that the name of a genuine solicitor, Mikhail Sokolov (see below), is being misused in relation to supposedly assisting with recovering funds from a fraudulent broker.
The SRA understands that the name of the genuine solicitor has been provided to proposed clients of another company, supposedly offering his assistance with recovering funds from fraudulent brokers.
We have been informed that an email was also purportedly sent by "Mikhail Sokolov" to a client of the company, explaining how to proceed and purportedly attaching academic / professional qualification documents of the genuine solicitor. We understand that the email was sent from the email address "email@example.com" and was signed off using the name of the genuine solicitor and claiming to be "Head of Fraud Department Office SCC".
The SRA has been informed that telephone calls purporting to involve the genuine solicitor in these claims have also been made.
Any business or transaction through the email address firstname.lastname@example.org is not undertaken by a solicitor’s practice or individual authorised or regulated by the SRA.
Is there a genuine firm or person?
The SRA authorises and regulates a genuine solicitor called Mikhail Sokolov, who is a consultant solicitor with the genuine firm of IMD Solicitors LLP (and is also understood to run a separate, Russian law practice).
The genuine Mr Sokolov has confirmed he has no connection to the email address or the transactions / claims 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.