Warning: Emails misusing the name and details of Hanne & Co Solicitors LLP
8 November 2019
Emails providing alternative bank payment details, misusing the name of Hanne & Co and Mr Tom Mythen and Ms Nina Woodman of that firm.
What is the scam?
Emails have been sent to clients in late September and October 2019, misusing the name and contact details of a genuine firm of solicitors and genuine employees (see below). The emails provided alternative bank payment details in relation to the completion of a property purchase.
Emails seen by the SRA show a client of the genuine firm receiving emails purportedly from Mr Tom Mythen and Ms Nina Woodman of the genuine firm, requesting deposit money in respect of a property purchase be paid into a bank account which was not that of the genuine firm of solicitors. The emails appeared as if they were sent from genuine email addresses of the genuine individuals but were not actually from those individuals.
Another email exchange shows a separate client received an email supposedly from Mr Tom Mythen, requesting payment for a proposed property purchase be paid into another bank account which was not that of the genuine firm of solicitors. Similar to the first instance, the emails appeared as if they were sent from Mr Mythen’s genuine email address but were not actually from him.
Is there a genuine firm or person?
The SRA authorises and regulates a genuine firm called Hanne & Co Solicitors LLP (which trades as Hanne & Co). Its head office is at The Candle Factory, 112 York Road, Battersea, London, SW11 3RS and one of its genuine branch offices is at Molasses House, Plantation Wharf, Battersea, London, SW11 3TN. The firm’s genuine website address is www.hanne.co.uk.
The genuine firm of Hanne & Co Solicitors LLP does have a genuine partner called Tom Mythen, who is not a solicitor authorised by the SRA, but is approved as a Licensed Conveyancer by the Council for Licensed Conveyancers (CLC). The firm also has a genuine secretary called Nina Woodman.
The genuine firm has confirmed that neither the firm or its staff have any genuine and intended connection to the emails 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.