Warning: Emails misusing the name of Debevoise & Plimpton LLP
11 May 2020
Emails have been sent, falsely claiming to be from Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, in relation to a supposedly unclaimed inheritance.
What is the scam?
The SRA has been informed that a member of the public has received emails from an individual called "Peter Goldsmith" claiming to be an "Attorney with Debevoise & Plimpton LLP". The emails relate to a supposedly unclaimed inheritance of an unknown individual. The last name of the deceased is tailored to match the last name of the recipient of the emails.
The emails were sent using the email address of "email@example.com". There is a telephone contact number of "+44 7441 392601" and a website address of "www.debevoise.com/lordggoldsmithgc"; however, this website page is not active.
The emails misuse the name and address of a genuine firm of solicitors and the name of a genuine barrister (see below).
Any business or transactions through the email address "firstname.lastname@example.org" or the telephone number "+44 7441 392601" are not undertaken by a solicitor's firm authorised and regulated by the SRA.
Is there a genuine firm or person?
Debevoise & Plimpton LLP is a genuine firm of solicitors which is authorised and regulated by the SRA. Peter Goldsmith is a barrister who is a Partner at Debevoise & Plimpton LLP.
The genuine firm of Debevoise & Plimpton LLP and the genuine barrister, Peter Goldsmith, have confirmed to the SRA 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.