Email misusing the name of Matthew Woods of Withers LLP
13 December 2016
Members of the public have received e-mails, sent from a "gmail" email account, which falsely claim to be from Matthew Woods of Withers LLP.
What is the scam?
The SRA has been informed that members of the public have received e-mails, sent from a "gmail" email account, which falsely claim to be from Matthew Woods of Withers LLP.
An email seen by the SRA was sent from the email address "firstname.lastname@example.org" (which may also be shown as "email@example.com"). The email asked the recipient to help "Matthew Woods" claim funds from the bank account of a purported client who had died and had the same surname as the recipient.
The SRA has been informed that another email sent from the same email address noted above referred the recipient to a "business proposal", with a telephone number of 44-703-193-6657 being provided.
Any business or transactions conducted from the e-mail address firstname.lastname@example.org (or email@example.com), or telephone number 44-703-193-6657, are not undertaken by an individual or solicitor's practice authorised or regulated by the SRA.
Is there a genuine firm or person?
The SRA does authorise and regulate a genuine solicitor named Matthew Woods, who is a Partner at Withers LLP.
Withers LLP is a genuine firm of solicitors which is authorised and regulated by the SRA, whose genuine head office address is 16 Old Bailey, London, EC4M 7EG.
The genuine firm Withers LLP has confirmed that neither the firm or the genuine Matthew Woods have any 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.