18 November 2016
Members of the public have received unsolicited telephone calls from someone claiming to be a representative of "Smithfield Partners & Co" in London.
What is the scam?
The SRA has been informed that members of the public have received unsolicited telephone calls from someone claiming to be a representative of "Smithfield Partners & Co" in London.
We understand that the calls:
- invited the recipients to pay money towards the purchase of time shares in a Spanish property;
- were made by a female identifying herself as Julie Denton or Geri Cardew;
- claimed that "Smithfield Partners & Co" operate from 18 Old Brompton Road in London; and
- were made from the telephone number 0203 468 5597.
The SRA does not authorise or regulate any solicitors called Julie Denton or Geri Cardew, or a firm with the name "Smithfield Partners & Co" (but see below in relation to a genuine firm with a similar name).
Any business or transactions through "Smithfield Partners & Co", the telephone number 0203 468 5597 or the address 18 Old Brompton Road are not undertaken by a solicitor's practice or an individual authorised and regulated by the SRA.
16 December 2016
The SRA has received information that calls are continuing to be made from "Smithfield Partners & Co" and "Smithfield and Partners", relating to timeshares and providing the details shown above. It is understood that the calls are being made by different callers using various names.
The SRA does not authorise or regulate any firm with the names "Smithfield Partners & Co" or "Smithfield and Partners".
7 December 2016
The SRA have received further information that a member of the public has received a call from an individual called "Chloe", claiming to be a representative of "Smithfield Partners & Co". The SRA understands that the caller told the recipient that they were due to receive money as a result of the sale of their membership in a timeshare, but that the member of the public was asked to initially make an advance payment into a separate bank account.
22 November 2016
The SRA has received information that, in addition to the details shown above, a member of the public has received a call from a person by the name of Rebecca Wilson. This was again in relation to the purchase of timeshares in a Spanish property. The member of the public was also encouraged to transfer money into an account in the name of Mr Davies.
Is there a genuine firm or person?
Smithfield Partners Limited is a genuine firm which is authorised and regulated by the SRA. The genuine firm has a genuine head office address of Temple Chambers, 3-7 Temple Avenue, London, EC4Y 0HP and a telephone number of 0845 539 1000.
Smithfield Partners Limited have informed the SRA that they do not employ anyone called Julie Denton or Geri Cardew and they have no connection with the unsolicited telephone calls.
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.