Email scammers impersonate City law firm partner in attempt to dupe public
Withers lawyer’s name pinched by internet wrongens
Online scammers have impersonated a top City law firm partner in an ambitious attempt to dupe the general public out of their hard-earned cash.
According to the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), members of the public have received emails purporting to be from Matthew Woods, a partner at the London office of international outfit Withers. Claiming he needs help tracking down the relative of a deceased client, the emails were sent from “firstname.lastname@example.org” and “email@example.com”.
Legal Cheek would like to stress that the real Matthew Woods (pictured below) — who has been a partner at Withers since 2007 — is in no way connected to the fake emails. A spokesperson for the firm told Legal Cheek:
We referred this matter to the SRA as soon as we became aware of it and are glad that they have dealt with it so swiftly.
The scammers have clearly done their research. According to Wood’s firm profile, he focuses on “the mitigation of inheritance and capital gains taxes”. So any unsuspecting email recipient — having quickly Googled Woods — may think that the appeal for help is genuine.
It’s also been revealed by the SRA that another email, again sent from the addresses above, referred to a “business proposal”, with recipients being urged to call a telephone number provided. Legal Cheek tried calling the number, but was unable to get through to anyone.
This isn’t the first time lawyers have been targeted by internet wrongens. Back in April it emerged that would-be fraudsters had cloned the website of independent law firm giant Burges Salmon.
Using the fictional law firm name ‘Owen & Harvey Solicitors’, the cheeky creators of the site had used the real profiles of some of the firm’s senior lawyers in order to bring an air of legitimacy to their internet-based scam.