Warning: Emails misusing the names of Alan Samson and Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher
12 August 2020
Emails have been sent falsely claiming to be from Alan Samson of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher UK LLP, attaching a supposed Power of Attorney
What is the scam?
Emails have been sent that falsely claim to be from Alan Samson of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher UK LLP, attaching a supposed Power of Attorney document. The emails seen by the SRA use the email address email@example.com and the subject of the initial emails is "Power of attorney". The purported Power of Attorney document claims to relate to lottery winnings and the payment of a 'cash donation' to the recipient.
The emails and attached document misuse the name of a genuine solicitor and the name and address of a genuine law firm (see below).
The initial email instructs the recipient to 'sign and date' the document before sending it back, thereby supposedly agreeing 'to comply with every legal requirement for the purpose of cash donation'. Follow up emails have then been sent with different subject headings (e.g. "Legal process" or "Legal fees"). These set out a purported process to be followed, and fees claimed to be payable in advance, before the recipient of the emails can supposedly be sent their 'cash donation' from the lottery winnings.
Any business or transaction through the email address "firstname.lastname@example.org" is not undertaken by a solicitor's practice or by an individual authorised and regulated by the SRA.
Is there a genuine firm or person?
The SRA does authorise and regulate a genuine solicitor called Alan Samson. He is a partner at the genuine firm of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher UK LLP.
The correct email address for Mr Samson is "email@example.com" and the firm’s genuine London office address is at Telephone House, 2-4 Temple Avenue, London, EC4Y 0HB.
Both the genuine Alan Samson and the firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher UK LLP have confirmed that they have no genuine 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.