Procedure to follow when dealing with someone impersonating a solicitor

Cocksure

Well-known Member
Hi Guys,
Whilst being involved in legal disputes is nothing new to me, being involved in one where the opposite side chooses to impersonate the solicitor who is meant to be representing them is! As a result, I'm hoping that someone on here can tell me/confirm the correct legal steps to take as I take a very dim view on this action.

I have forwarded the correspondence to the real solicitor so as he can I confirm or deny that it was from them, but let's just say I'm 99.9999999999999999% certain it's not.

Taking it to the Police is a waste of time for all concerned as whilst it is an office under the 1974 Solicitors Act, no harm has been caused to me. I was therefor wondering if contacting the law society was the correct way about going about things or if there was another route to take?
 

Tempest

Distinguished Member
Just to say...
I would imagine the real solicitor finding out they are impersonating him would be more than enough on it's own to get the ball rolling as I'm sure he/she will wish to deal with these people immediately.
 

Cocksure

Well-known Member
Just to say...
I would imagine the real solicitor finding out they are impersonating him would be more than enough on it's own to get the ball rolling as I'm sure he/she will wish to deal with these people immediately.
That has crossed (edit, my mind) and is in part why I have posted the thread on here. Let's just say I have a habit of overreacting :( :blush:
 
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sbriggs

Active Member
In what way did they impersonate them , also was it an individual they were impersonating or the solicitor firm
 

Cocksure

Well-known Member
They impersonate the solicitor by using his name, crudely setting up an email account with his name as the address, referred to things discussed in correspondents, and worse of all copied over the legal icons and symbols used in official emails. All pretty crude, and whilst they never directly claimed to be a solicitor, what was written and done was all done for the purpose of making it appear I was talking to the actual solicitor I had had previous dealings with.

However this is not my area of law, so maybe they can argue it wasn't an impersonation. I can only give my view on how it came across to me
 

MaryWhitehouse

Active Member
Might be worth calling the Law Society too.
 

Tempest

Distinguished Member
These people have a CONTACT US link on the page:


Bogus solicitors
It is a criminal offence for someone to call themselves a solicitor or act as a solicitor if they are not on the roll of solicitors. We call these people "bogus solicitors" and we may prosecute them. We publish alerts about bogus solicitors.
 

Cocksure

Well-known Member
Not overreacting then?

I'll wait for the real lawyer to confirm tomorrow as it is possible it was from him, be amazed but anything is possible, and then take the matter further. :)
 

MaryWhitehouse

Active Member
Not at all. Personally I'd contact regulators anyway as the other side may prefer to cover up.
 

sbriggs

Active Member
Maybe obvious but what are they trying to achieve do you think by impersonating the solicitor

is the email address a generic (gmail type ) or with a proper domain name ?
 

IronGiant

Moderator
Maybe obvious but what are they trying to achieve do you think by impersonating the solicitor
It might be best if he doesn't advertise that in public, at least until he knows whether the contact is fake or not. Obvious possibilities are trying to intercept a payment, which is a common conveyancing scam or attempting to pervert the course of justice in a dispute.
 

Cocksure

Well-known Member
The original genuine email came from a proper domain that I checked out first before replying to. This email came from an hotmail account.
 

MaryWhitehouse

Active Member
Remember an email can appear to come from the correct address but have a different reply-to address.
 

sbriggs

Active Member
If hotmail then I would say it is passing off as a solicitor , solicitors have to fully track their correspondence usually with specialist software so unlikely they would also use hotmail
 

Cocksure

Well-known Member
If hotmail then I would say it is passing off as a solicitor , solicitors have to fully track their correspondence usually with specialist software so unlikely they would also use hotmail
I didn't know that which is helpful :)
For me it just didn't make any sense, no lawyer would willingly give out a private email address and besides that, they can access the firm's email account from home so why use a private, lastly I have never met a lawyer yet that responds to cases on a Sunday unless they really have to, and this is not one of them
 

crashcris

Member
It might be best if he doesn't advertise that in public, at least until he knows whether the contact is fake or not. Obvious possibilities are trying to intercept a payment, which is a common conveyancing scam or attempting to pervert the course of justice in a dispute.
Is it possible that he's just trying to save himself the cost of the actual solicitor, those solicitor letters don't come cheap?
 

sbriggs

Active Member
It might be best if he doesn't advertise that in public, at least until he knows whether the contact is fake or not. Obvious possibilities are trying to intercept a payment, which is a common conveyancing scam or attempting to pervert the course of justice in a dispute.
I wasn’t asking for specifics just legally there is big difference between money scam or perverting the course of justice and an email just to try and speed up a process .
 

Tempest

Distinguished Member
Any problems, my team is here to help ;)
I have a young lady on the desk who's happy to offer many services.



 

Cocksure

Well-known Member
It wasn't a money scam email, and whilst I wouldn't be surprised if it was done to save costs, it was still a stupid move. At worse it could be argued that it was an attempt to prevent the course of justice as phrases like " avoid any unwanted publicity" were used
 

Sloppy Bob

Distinguished Member
From what you're saying the person that's pretending to be a solicitor is a client of the actual solicitor in question.

If so the firm may not wish to do anything depending upon a number of factors.
 

Cocksure

Well-known Member
From what you're saying the person that's pretending to be a solicitor is a client of the actual solicitor in question.

If so the firm may not wish to do anything depending upon a number of factors.
Were you in my dreams last night :eek: :rotfl: I woke up this morning with exactly the same thought!

I've sent a 2nd email to the real solicitor saying that I am going to pass the matter onto my solicitor to ensure that the right people are informed. So far I have been handling the matter without a solicitor but I think it is time to bring them in to make sure this is all properly reported.
 

Rasczak

Distinguished Member
There are various companies around the UK that can do a forensic analysis of suspected files/digital documents and produce an evidence file and report on completion that can be used in court (criminal or civil) if required. I have used them on one occasion - it is truly amazing what they can extract from the files.

You are 100% correct to take action on this, and depending on the nature of the deception here it could be a serious offence, but can I recommend against giving a running commentary or posting further details online? Your fascinating pub thread has been a really good read but means the person you are accusing could probably easily identify you should they read this forum or do an internet search on you. Should you have issues proving the provenance of the suspected document then this could backfire.
 

noiseboy72

Distinguished Member
Funnily enough I've just had a letter purporting to be from the land owner of some disputed land we've "added" to our front garden. There's another thread on the subject, so I won't go into details, but someone has tried to write a letter "demanding" that I remove some boundary markings.

The only problem is that they have used the original company details as held by the Land Registry, not the current landowner (the original company went bust about 10 years ago) and the "official" headed note paper has been printed on an inkjet printer, so the logo smudged when I spat my tea over it earlier... What's even funnier is if it's the person I think it is who has sent it, their husband is a solicitor! I won't be replying or taking any action...

In your case, I would definitely get the original solicitor involved, but possibly not the Law Society at the moment, as this is identity fraud rather than impersonating a solicitor. I am quite sure that they will instruct their clients to desist and will drop the case as well.
 

Autopilot

Distinguished Member
I would personally still be reporting this to the police, even if it’s just to get it on record should this thing grow legs. Obviously we don’t know what’s going on, but if it is nefarious, then as well impersonating a solicitor and PtCOJ, there may be other offences like such as fraud.

I have seen people do this before when they haven’t got a solicitor, but it’s a very strange thing to do if you are already have one. Another possibility is that it is the original solicitor could be going ‘off the books’. That is pure speculation of course, but it can happen. Or maybe something innocent like they were home working and lost access to their work emails or something.
 
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