We are informed from time to time about criminals sending emails to the public purporting to be from Stewarts or one of our solicitors.
The email may look very similar to a genuine Stewarts email but the sender’s email address will not be genuine. The fraudster may be aware that you are a client of the firm and will send you an email claiming that we have changed our bank details, however the bank details inserted will be those of the fraudster so you may inadvertently send funds to the fraudster’s account.
Sometimes the email will look as though it comes from a third party, such as an official government body but will involve Stewarts. The scams are intended to induce you to send money to the fraudster or to disclose your personal and bank account details. They will often suggest that you are entitled to a lottery win, unclaimed inheritance or bank funds, compensation or some other financial gain. They may ask you to pay an “administration fee” to obtain the funds or alternatively ask for your bank details. Please note:
- We will never inform you of any change to our details solely by electronic means
- Any email regarding changes sent outside normal working hours should be treated with caution
- If you wish to discuss the authenticity of an email or other communication you should contact us and speak to someone you know at the firm
- We do not accept responsibility if you transfer funds to an incorrect account
If you receive an email of this kind you are advised not to respond to the email nor provide your contact details, proof of identity nor bank details. These emails are fraudulent and should be reported to the appropriate authorities (see below).
You should take steps to ensure that you protect your personal information and bank details from identity theft and fraud, for example by ensuring that your anti-virus software is up to date.
Reporting fraud and scams
UK police – www.actionfraud.police.uk
US authorities – www.us-cert.gov/report-phishing
- Solicitors Regulation Authority – www.sra.org.uk/consumers/scam-alerts/scam-alerts
Examples of attempted scams using the Stewarts name
- A copy of our website but in the name of “Herbert Smith Freehold”
- Retainer agreement from “KT Stewarts Law LLP” and “Keith G Stewart”
- Email regarding an inheritance falsely claiming to be from John Cahill of Stewart Law LLP
- Emails misusing the Stewarts Law LLP name
An example of an email is below: