According to the SRA website cloning criminals are making minor changes to solicitors’ websites enabling the internet fraudsters to trick clients into entering a bogus site. They are then encouraged to hand over money on account which later disappears without a trace.
The changes can be so minute, a missing letter or even a punctuation mark, that it can be difficult to detect. The cloned sites are then used to aid scams, usually outside of the UK, with the involvement of a Solicitor allegedly giving credibility to the scam because it looks as though whatever is being asked is legitimate.
Steve Wilmott, Director of Intelligence and Investigations for the SRA, said:
“We are aware of a small number of firms who have had their company name and website cloned by criminals using their identity as a front to obtain money fraudulently.
Circumstances have ranged from an almost direct copy of a firm’s name and website, where the contact details have been changed (usually to an address and telephone number abroad), to cases where the name of the firm has been very slightly changed. Sometimes the difference could be just a missing letter or a punctuation mark.’
If you believe that a solicitor’s website has been cloned or tampered with you should contact the SRA’s fraud and confidential intelligence bureau [email protected]
, or the national action fraud hotline, or tel: 0300 123 2040.
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