Birketts has been exposed by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) as the subject of a scam after members of the public received emails purportedly from the UK Border Agency advising them to send money to the firm.
Recipients of the email were asked to contact Niamh Carrick in relation to applications for employment in the UK and asked to send identity documents and transfer money to the fake lawyer.
Neither the telephone number or email used were connected to an SRA regulated person or practice and both had been used for previous scams.
It is the fifteenth warning issued by the SRA in just one month over scams involving individuals claiming to be acting for law firms regulated by the body.
On 5 August the regulator was notified of individuals claiming to be Addleshaw Goddard lawyers acting for a charitable trust inviting them to claim money from the organisation.
The emails told recipients they could collect large sums of money from the trust for scientific research in return for an up-front fee and identity documents. Readers were asked to send the documents to firstname.lastname@example.org, the telephone number +0702 403 2781 or the fax number +0702 403 9429. The emails set out the correct postal address for the law firm.
Barlow Lyde & Gilbert was also the subject of a scam in which recipients of an email were asked for a taxation payment in order to collect an inheritance. Barlow Lyde & Gilbert merged with Clyde & Co in 2011 (5 October 2011).
Other firms whose identities have been appropriated since the beginning of the year include Manches, Mills & Reeve and Simpson Millar. The SRA recommends targets of scams to contact the law firms and check the SRA to verify firm’s details.