Fake law firms are on the increase according to Bar Associations in Europe, with scammers gathering information from their “clients” and using – or misusing – the identities of real lawyers and their branding to add credibility to their ruses.
The Law Society of Scotland has warned members and the public about the growing trend, asking the public to check with the Law Society site to ensure the lawyers in the “firm” are real, along with the firm they purport to be part of.
The BBC reports that the Capital Defence Lawyers in Edinburgh discovered it had been the victim of identity fraud when its lawyers found their details listed on a website for Carter Legal Associates.
Solicitor advocate, John Scott QC, from the firm, said: “It’s very unsettling to see our information being used to trick people into contacting a fake law firm, and potentially falling for an online scam. The whole experience has been very time-consuming and stressful.
“In addition to the risk to the public, there’s a reputational risk for us having our names linked to a ‘firm’ which exists solely to scam unsuspecting members of the public. We would recommend that anyone intending to contact a solicitor or law firm checks the validity of the firm on the Law Society’s website.”
For Capital Defence Lawyers, the problem has continued because as one fake website is removed, another one is created by the scammers under a slightly different name.
The firm continues to monitor the situation and deal with each new version of the imposter firm.
Mr Messer of the Law Society said: “We can confirm that Carter Legal Associates are not a firm of Scottish solicitors and do not employ any members of the Law Society of Scotland.