Like many other reputable firms, Bates Wells’ name and the names of our people may be used by fraudsters seeking to take advantage of members of the public. These fraudsters may seek to bring credibility to their fraudulent schemes, including fraudulent emails, letters or phone calls by pretending to be us. These scams normally try to entice the victim with the promise of significant financial inheritance, damages in connection with a timeshare property, or a position of employment if the individual pays them an upfront fee. In other cases, they may be trying to obtain personal or confidential information about you or your organisation.
Please be aware that whilst some scams are obvious, others can be quite complex in nature as fraudsters become more sophisticated and technology evolves. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:
Inheritance, or legal services, fraud
Third parties impersonate our lawyers or other professional staff in an attempt to get you to make a payment in advance of receiving legal services, often in relation to a possible inheritance. Common themes are ‘a late or distant relative’ with the same surname as the recipient, and the impersonation of our lawyers.
Third parties purporting to be Bates Wells, or to be acting on our behalf, or using a fraudulent website. Please note that in some instances pictures of our lawyers have been used – with different names – to create fake law firms’ websites. Bates Well’s legitimate website is at www.bateswells.co.uk.
Third parties impersonating Bates Wells partners or staff using email addresses provided by well-known providers such as Gmail, Outlook.com, Mail.com, Hotmail or Yahoo. Bates Wells does not use these service providers for email communications. Please also be alert to the use of email addresses associated with fraudulent domains, as set out above. Legal communications from Bates Wells partners and staff will only originate from @bateswells.co.uk
Marketing communications may come from the following domains: [email protected]
Law firms’ clients are at risk of fraud by criminals who attempt to inform them of incorrect bank details for their lawyers. Bates Wells does not regularly change its bank details and our clients should take steps to verify any apparent change of bank details verbally with the firm since notification of such a change may, in fact, be fraudulent. Our bank details are presented on our invoices. If these bank details are different from those currently held by a client, they should contact our Finance team before making payment. Clients should take appropriate steps to satisfy themselves that the bank details they hold for the firm are accurate.
Scams we are aware of
1 – Inheritance scam
Members of the public have received a letter falsely claiming to be from Bates Wells & Braithwaite – London. The letter informed the receiver that they were entitled to a supposedly unclaimed inheritance of $9,500,000. It purported to be from a “Vance Jorge, Barrister”. The unclaimed inheritance was said to come from a Mr Edward Larcher/Edward Botha who died in 2006 with his immediate family in a car crash in Spain.
The letter asked the recipient to get in touch with Mr Jorge via his private email, [email protected] or to call him at +44 7883250268 and to provide their personal details to claim the inheritance.
These letters are not being sent by Bates Wells, the phone number and email address used do not belong to any member of staff or partners at Bates Wells. Please do not respond, provide any personal details or make any payment.
2 – Members of the public are being contacted to request sums of money to be deposited into an unknown bank account through the use of fraudulent invoices containing our firm’s name and logo.
Members of the public have been contacted by an individuals purporting to be working with this firm.
Most recently, a ‘Miss Natalie L Taylor’ has contact a member of the public. An invoice, not issued by Bates Wells, was received from the email address notificati[email protected] . A contact telephone number of 0207 557 7777 and an email address of [email protected] were supplied on the invoice. The invoice also displayed our former logo.
In other reported incidents, someone calling himself ‘David Campbell’ purported to be working with this firm. The email address used by this individual was [email protected]. The invoice contains a phone number, 0303 123 1111, and an email address, [email protected]. This phone number and email address do not belong to any member of Bates Wells staff and should not be responded to.
The invoice also contains details for a Nationwide account in the name of Miss J Alexander. This account is in no way related to Bates Wells and you should not send any money to it.
Members of the public have also been told that David Campbell has Solicitor no. 102541. This is a real solicitor that works at Simkins LLP but he is not involved with our firm or working on any of the compensation matters. Account numbers given over the telephone have been LloydsTSB, Halifax and Santander accounts in the names of Miss Natalie L. Taylor, Miss Ann M. Dooley, Miss Natalie. A. Yarwood and Miss R. Lowe. These do not belong to Bates Wells and money should not be paid to them.
3 – Members of the public are being contacted to request sums of money to be deposited into an unknown bank account to pursue litigation in the Spanish courts.
It has come to our attention that the name Bates Wells is being used to request sums of money to be deposited into an unknown bank account to pursue litigation in the Spanish courts.
Members of the public are being contacted by an individual purporting to be an employee of this firm, the individual is using the name Marcus Rose and the phone number being used is 07763 231 595. This phone number does not belong to any member of staff or partner at Bates Wells and should not be responded to.
4 – Members of the public are receiving unsolicited emails allegedly sent from Bates Wells’ Immigration department.
Unsolicited emails, allegedly being sent from Bates Wells’ Immigration department, have been brought to our attention. These emails are not being sent by Bates Wells, please do not respond to them.
5 – Emails misusing the name of a staff member of Bates Wells
An unsolicited email sent, allegedly being sent from a member of staff who works for Bates Wells, has been brought to our attention.
This email states that it is a reminder to pay our fee and includes an invoice which appears to be very similar to a genuine invoice issued by Bates Wells but with a sort code and account number which does not belong to Bates Wells.
The email, sent from a ‘@mail.com’ email address, appears to come from a genuine member of staff but is not being sent by Bates Wells and should not be responded to.
6 – Documentation misusing the name of Bates Wells
Members of the public have advised of receiving signed Memorandum of Understanding and Power of Attorney from a ‘Terry Lynn Beets’ by email. The signed Memorandum of Understanding and Power of Attorney appears as a signed ‘Notary Acknowledgment’ on unofficial Bates Wells headed paper. These have not been prepared by Bates Wells.
Action you may take
Always exercise caution in relation to unexpected or unusual communications, particularly where they exhibit any of the above features. If in doubt, please contact us on the telephone number stated on our website to confirm the validity of the invoice and not the telephone number stated on the invoice itself.
We recommend that you report fraudulent correspondence to your email or telephone provider and do not respond to it.
If you think you have been approached by a fraudster, you can report the matter to the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau, in London. Action Fraud reports can be made on 0300 123 2040, or via their website – www.actionfraud.police.uk.
Please also let us know about any scams which use our name by contacting [email protected] or, if you are a client, by speaking to your usual Bates Wells contact partner.
This page was last updated on 24 March 2021