Warning: Emails misusing the name of Howard Kennedy LLP
10 September 2019
An email has been sent misusing the name of Howard Kennedy LLP providing false bank account details.
What is the scam?
An email has been sent misusing the name of Howard Kennedy LLP. The e-mail provides false bank account details and misuses the name and details of a genuine employee at the firm. (see below).
The SRA has been informed that a member of the public has received an email claiming to be from a genuine employee of the genuine firm, Eva Holford. The email seen by the SRA appears to be sent from the bogus email address ‘firstname.lastname@example.org.’ (please note three ‘n’s in the domain name). The email also misuses the genuine email address for Ms Holford (see below) on the signature of the email. The email informs the recipient that the firm’s bank account “is on hold” and that payment should be remitted into an alternative account, the details of which are provided on a pdf attachment headed ‘‘Client Account GBP Bank Details’. The attachment uses an old logo for Howard Kennedy and provides details for a new bank account.
Any business or transactions using the domain ‘@howardkennnedy.com’ are not undertaken by a solicitor’s practice or an individual regulated by the SRA.
Is there a genuine firm or person?
The SRA authorises and regulates a genuine firm of solicitors called Howard Kennedy LLP, the genuine domain used for email address by the firm is ‘@howardkennedy.com’. (please note there are only two ‘n’s in the genuine email address, not three).
The genuine firm Howard Kennedy LLP has confirmed that it has no connection to the matters set out above.
The genuine firm Howard Kennedy LLP has also confirmed that it employs a genuine individual by the name Eva Holford, that the genuine email address for Ms Holford is email@example.com and that neither the genuine firm or Ms Holford has no connection to the matters set out 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.