Warning: Emails and documents misusing the name and details of Stephensons Solicitors LLP
8 June 2020
Emails falsely claiming to be from Andrew Welch of Stephensons Solicitors LLP, in relation to a supposedly unclaimed inheritance.
What is the scam?
Emails have been sent to several members of the public, predominantly based in North America, falsely claiming to be from "Andrew Welch, counsel with the firm Stephenson Solicitors in Wigan, UK". The emails relate to a purportedly unclaimed inheritance. In the emails seen by the SRA the name of the supposed deceased is "Craig" and the surname is tailored to match the recipient of the email.
Within the emails a bogus claim document (supposedly to be addressed to a bank claimed to hold the inheritance), has also been sent to members of the public. The scam document misuses the name, logo and genuine address of the genuine firm of solicitors (see below).
The emails seen by the SRA appear to have been sent from email addresses "firstname.lastname@example.org" and "email@example.com"
Any business or transaction through the email addresses "firstname.lastname@example.org" and "email@example.com" is not undertaken by a firm or individual authorised and regulated by the SRA.
Is there a genuine firm or person?
Stephensons Solicitors LLP is a genuine firm of solicitors which is authorised and regulated by the SRA, with its head office based at Wigan Investment Centre, Waterside Drive, Wigan, Lancashire, WN3 5BA.
The managing partner of Stephensons Solicitors LLP is a genuine solicitor called Andrew Welch, who is also authorised and regulated by the SRA.
The firm and its genuine Andrew Welch have confirmed that they have no 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.