We have been advised by the Law Society that solicitors and their clients are currently being targeted by fraudsters and cyber criminals and would therefore like to make you aware of some scams that we are aware of to try and help you from falling victim to them.
Change in bank details
We will not during the course of your transaction change our bank details. We are aware that cyber criminals infiltrate large numbers of email accounts of members of the public and then run programmes which wait silently until certain keywords are used suggesting that a legal transaction is in progress. Once activated, an email will be generated from a generic email account which may look vaguely like a Horwood and James email account or may be a “spoof” email that appears, at first, to have actually been delivered from a genuine Horwood & James email address. These emails then notify you of an alleged change in our bank details in an attempt to dupe you in to sending funds to those new details. If you receive such an email please telephone the solicitor acting in your case immediately.
Fake transaction or claim
In this scam an email is again generated from an address which may be similar to a genuine Horwood & James address. Within the email you may be notified of a pending action against you, an outstanding tax liability or offered a business deal which we are allegedly facilitating. Horwood & James do not send unsolicited emails. Equally, no transaction will proceed to the point where we are requesting funds unless you have returned a signed terms of engagement letter which you will have received by post. If in any doubt always call the office and speak to someone you recognise before sending any payment.
Your bank details
We are extremely reluctant to receive your bank details via email. We strongly advise that you pass us your bank details by signed letter. If you must send them by email you do so entirely at your own risk. We also strongly recommend that you follow up any such email with a call to the solicitor acting in your matter to verify that the correct details have reached us. Your email to us may be intercepted and your details changed before they reach us.
In this scam a copy of a genuine website for a firm of solicitors may be used to create a fake or cloned firm. This firm may issue spurious proceedings and seek cash to settle the claim or may seek to charge you in advance for services that will not materialise. Horwood & James do not use any other website address other than www.horwoodjames.co.uk. If in doubt, please ensure you contact us via the phone numbers available via the local press or come into the office in person.