A growing number of fake law firm websites are potentially scamming “clients” and gathering their confidential financial information, a European regulator is warning the public.
Additionally, since fake law firm websites are often using real attorneys’ profiles and branding, law firms need to be watchful to prevent their advertising efforts from being misappropriated, the Law Society of Scotland says. It is urging the public to check the Law Society’s site to make sure “lawyers” profiled online actually exist before retaining their services, according to the BBC News, the Herald and the Scotsman.
The unwelcome realization that its website had an illicit clone struck Capital Defense Lawyers of Edinburgh earlier this month. The fake site, Carter Legal Associates, for example, listed Edward Scott QC as a partner. His profile was nearly identical to a legitimate CDL profile for solicitor advocate John Scott QC at the well-regarded criminal and traffic defense firm, the articles report. Although the fake Carter website has since been taken down, others have popped up, the Scotsman reports.
“It’s very unsettling to see our information being used to trick people into contacting a fake law firm, and potentially falling for an online scam. The whole experience has been very time-consuming and stressful,” the real attorney says.
“In addition to the risk to the public, there’s a reputational risk for us having our names linked to a ‘firm’ which exists solely to scam unsuspecting members of the public.”