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News

Scams-don’t fall for them!

This is an unusual post for us, but we want to make sure that our clients and other viewers of this site are aware that scammers are out there-and they might be looking at you and your company. We have come across two examples in the last couple of days which we want to share with you so that you know that it really could happen to you. It’s not just other people that it happens to!

In the first one, an individual was advising a company about a potential claim. They negotiated a settlement with the other side’s solicitor who send them a pdf with their bank details so that the adviser’s client could make a payment in settlement of the claim. That pdf contained not only the solicitor’s bank details, but also advised anyone who was going to make a payment to phone the solicitors first to check the details. Unfortunately that incoming email and pdf was spotted by a scammer who had hacked into the adviser’s hotmail account, and copied both of them. The email that went out to the adviser’s client had the solicitor’s details subtly changed, and of course the bank details altered to change the sort code and account number. The advice to call the solicitors to check the account details had also been removed. Not surprisingly, the adviser made the payment to the scammer instead of settling the claim.

Key point to take away: if you are planning to make a payment to a bank account for the first time, don’t just rely on an email. Phone the payee first (don’t email!) to check the details.

In the second, a company received a phone call from someone claiming to be a bailiff on the point of going into court, to wind the company up. To avoid this, the company just needed to make a payment over the phone to settle the debt. The scammer was quite convincing-they quoted a case number, a creditor, the phone number of Cardiff County Court’s bailiff section, and a lot of legal jargon. Fortunately the company wasn’t quite convinced, and they phoned us for some on the spot advice. We told them that, unless they had received some paperwork from the Court, there was no possible way that the company could be wound up, and bailiffs simply don’t make calls like that-they have nothing to do with winding up petitions.

Key point to take away: if you get a phone call from someone claiming to be an official debt collector, for instance a bailiff or a Sheriff’s Officer (now called a High Court Enforcement Officer), and they ask for payment, be extremely wary. Phone us-we are always happy to talk.

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Tim Newsome

Dispute resolution solicitor

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Hannah Kennedy

Dispute resolution solicitor

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