Osborne Clarke hit by bank account scam letters

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30 October 2013


Scam: Osborne Clarke has not changed its account details

Regional law firm Osborne Clarke has become the victim of a scam falsely telling clients that it has changed its bank account details, the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has warned.

The SRA yesterday issued an alert following information that clients have received fake letters purportedly from a partner of Osborne Clarke, requesting them in future to use the account details provided.

Though in most scams the fraudsters use false names and contact details, here they used an actual partner and the firm’s real contact details, as well as the company registration number of Osborne Clarke Nominees Limited.

The SRA said: “If anyone receives letters of this nature they are advised to conduct their own due diligence by checking the authenticity of such letters or by contacting Osborne Clarke direct by reliable and established means and if necessary contacting the SRA to find out whether the firms or individuals are regulated and authorised by the SRA and/or to verify the firm/individual’s practising details.

“Full due diligence is necessary in case the firm’s full identity has been stolen: as well as checking with the SRA, contact with the firm, checking public information (telephone directories, company records, websites) and any other verification possible in the particular circumstances is required.”

In a statement on its website, Osborne Clarke said: “We have not changed our bank account details and would ask clients who receive such notification to disregard it and speak to their regular contact at the firm or a member of the firm’s accounts department. We have reported this to the relevant authorities, in this case the SRA and actionfraud.”

It is the second time in a matter of months that the firm has been at the centre of a fake letters. In July, people received fake letters claiming to be from ‘Sr Osborne Clarke’ on behalf of Osborne Clarke Spain, relating to obtaining the benefit of an unclaimed inheritance. In this case the letters used false contact details.



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Check your retainers – the lessons of Dreamvar

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Solicitors, and their insurers, dealing with property transactions should look closely at their due diligence procedures following last week’s landmark ruling on liabilities from the Court of Appeal. It is clearly good news for buyers who are victims of identity fraud. Dreamvar UK Ltd v Mishcon de Reya & Mary Monson Solicitors also has implications for anyone holding monies in a client account for a transaction. The ruling is likely to lead to increased professional indemnity insurance premiums for solicitors engaged in property transactions. They should review the terms and conditions of their retainers in light of this ruling.

May 22nd, 2018