Warning: Email misusing the name of Russells Solicitors
12 August 2020
An email has been sent falsely claiming to be from Russells Solicitors, in relation to a supposedly unclaimed inheritance.
What is the scam?
An email has been sent to a member of the public from an individual claiming to be "Stephan Dalen, Associate Attorney" at Russells Solicitors. The email refers to a supposedly unclaimed inheritance of an unknown individual. The email also refers to an attached Death Certificate ad Proof of Funds document.
The email seen by the SRA was sent from the email address "email@example.com" and provides contact telephone number of "+447727440587". It also provides the address of a genuine firm of solicitors (see below). The ‘Proof of Funds’ document also gives the email address Stephan.firstname.lastname@example.org and telephone number 203 769 1572
The SRA does not authorise or regulates a solicitor called "Stephan Dalen".
Any business or transaction through the email addresses "email@example.com" or "Stephan.dalen:lawyers.co.uk" or through the telephone numbers set out above, is not undertaken by a firm 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 firm by the name of Russells trading as Russells Solicitors whose office is at Yalding House, 152-156 Great Portland Street London W1W 5QA. The telephone number for the genuine firm is 0207 439 8692.
Russells have confirmed they have no connection to the email or documents referred to in the above alert and they do not employ a staff member called Stephan Dalen.
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.