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Osborne Clarke suffers identity theft

Clients received letters with ‘new’ bank account details

30 October 2013

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By Manju Manglani, Editor (@ManjuManglani)

International law firm Osborne Clarke has fallen victim to identity theft, with scammers attempting to divert new client deposits to a different account.

The firm’s clients had received letters, purportedly from Mark Woodward of Osborne Clarke, specifying a change in bank details for client accounts.

The Solicitors Regulation Authority issued a scam alert yesterday, noting that Woodward is a member of Osborne Clarke but that the UK-registered sender, Osborne Clarke Nominees Limited, is not associated with Osborne Clarke.

The letters falsely set out the firm’s UK address as One London Wall and referred to Osborne Clarke’s actual head office in Bristol. The company registration number cited in the letters, 02907465, belongs to Osborne Clarke Nominees Limited, a genuine company.

“If anyone receives letters of this nature they are advised to conduct their own due diligence by checking the authenticity of such letters or by contacting Osborne Clarke direct by reliable and established means and if necessary contacting the SRA to find out whether the firms or individuals are regulated and authorised by the SRA and/or to verify the firm/individual’s practising details,” the SRA said in a statement.

“Full due diligence is necessary in case the firm’s full identity has been stolen: as well as checking with the SRA, contact with the firm, checking public information (telephone directories, company records, websites) and any other verification possible in the particular circumstances is required.”

Osborne Clarke has confirmed that its clients had been targeted by fraudsters claiming that the firm had changed its bank account details.

“We have not changed our bank account details and would ask clients who receive such notification to disregard it and speak to their regular contact at the firm or a member of the firm’s accounts department. We have reported this to the relevant authorities in this case the SRA and actionfraud,” it said in a statement.

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