Warning: Documents and website from "Gareth Taylor Solicitors"
4 February 2019
Documents have been sent from "Gareth Taylor Solicitors" and the website "www․garethtaylorsolicitors․co․uk" is operating.
What is the scam?
A document headed "Debt Acknowledgment Form (IOU)" has been drafted with a letterhead of "Gareth Taylor Solicitors".
The document seen by the SRA states that "Andrew Drayton" of "Gareth Taylor Solicitors" was acting as a guarantor for the debt.
The SRA does not authorise or regulate a genuine firm called "Gareth Taylor Solicitors" or any genuine solicitors named "Andrew Drayton" (or named "Gareth Taylor").
The document contains an address for "Gareth Taylor Solicitors" of "105 Fleming Close, London, SW10 0AH, United Kingdom", email addresses of "email@example.com" and "andrew.drayton@garethtaylorsolicitors․co․uk", the telephone number "+44 844 357 0048" and a website link of "www․garethtaylorsolicitors․co․uk".
The website "www․garethtaylorsolicitors․co․uk" is operating, falsely claiming to be for a law firm.
The website provides the same telephone number, postal address and email address noted above. The website misuses the names of a number of genuine solicitors, most of whom are employed at one genuine firm (see below). The website also misuses the image of a genuine solicitor and the SRA ID for another genuine solicitor (see below).
Any business or transactions through "Gareth Taylor Solicitors", including through the website and contact details set out above, are not carried out by a solicitors practice or an individual authorised or regulated by the SRA.
Is there a genuine firm or person?
The SRA authorises and regulates a genuine firm of solicitors called Steel & Shamash Solicitors, whose genuine postal address is 12 Baylis Road, Waterloo, London, SE1 7AA. The genuine Steel & Shamash employ a number of solicitors whose names are used on the above website (and one whose photograph is misused). Both the genuine firm and the genuine solicitors have confirmed that they do not have any connection to the website or documents listed above.
The SRA authorises and regulates a genuine solicitor called Karen Roberts who is a solicitor working at MKB Solicitors LLP. The genuine SRA ID number for Karen Roberts is 38910 and the genuine Karen Roberts has confirmed that she does not have any connection with the website or document listed above.
The SRA also authorises and regulates a number of solicitors, whose names are listed on the website warned of above but who are genuine solicitors working at genuine law firms. None of these solicitors are believed to have any connection with the website and documents listed 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.
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