Like many other reputable firms, Bates Wells and Braithwaite’s (‘BWB’) name and the names of our partners or staff may be used in connection with fraudulent schemes, including fraudulent emails, letters or phone calls. These scams normally try to entice the victim with the promise of significant financial inheritance or a position of employment if the individual pays them an upfront fee. In other cases, they may be trying to obtain personal or confidential information about you or your organisation.
Please be aware that whilst some scams are obvious, others can be quite complex in nature as fraudsters become more sophisticated and technology evolves. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Inheritance, or legal services, fraud
Third parties impersonate our lawyers in an attempt to get you to pay in advance for legal services, often in relation to a possible inheritance. Common themes are ‘a late or distant relative’ with the same surname as the recipient, and the impersonation of our lawyers.
- Domain name
Third parties purporting to be Bates Wells Braithwaite, or to be acting on our behalf, or using a fraudulent website. Please note that in some instances pictures of our lawyers have been used – with different names – to create fake law firms’ websites. Bates Wells Braithwaite’s legitimate website is at www.bwbllp.com.
- Fraudulent emails
Third parties impersonating BWB partners or staff using email addresses provided by well-known providers such as Gmail, Outlook.com, Hotmail or Yahoo. BWB does not use these service providers for email communications. Please also be alert to the use of email addresses associated with fraudulent domains, as set out above. Legal communications from BWB partners and staff will only originate from @bwbllp.com. Marketing communications may come from the following domains: Bates.Wells.Braithwaite2@dotmailer-email.com
- Invoice Fraud
Law firms’ clients are at risk of fraud by criminals who attempt to inform them of incorrect bank details for their lawyers. BWB does not regularly change its bank details, accordingly our clients should take steps to verify any apparent change of bank details verbally with the firm since notification of such a change may, in fact, be fraudulent. Our bank details are presented on our invoices. If these bank details are different from those currently held by a client, they should contact our Finance team before making payment. Clients should take appropriate steps to satisfy themselves that the bank details they hold for the firm are accurate.
Scams we are aware of
Members of the public are being contacted by an individual purporting to be Martin Gunson of this firm, for further details please click here
Members of the public are receiving unsolicited emails allegedly sent from BWB’s Immigration department. For further information please click here
Members of the public are being contacted to request sums of money to be deposited into an unknown bank account to pursue litigation in the Spanish courts. For more information please click here.
Action you may take
Always exercise caution in relation to unexpected or unusual communications, particularly where they exhibit any of the above features.
We recommend that you report fraudulent correspondence to your email or telephone provider and do not respond to it.
If you think you have been approached by a fraudster, you can report the matter to the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau, in London. Action Fraud reports can be made on 0300 123 2040, or via their website - www.actionfraud.police.uk.
Please also let us know about any scams which use our name by contacting risk@ bwbllp.com, or, if you are a client, by speaking to your usual BWB contact partner.