Insight: The Rise of Fake Firms - Part 2

In this short blog series, Lawyer Checker’s Jennifer Williams outlines what it means for conveyancers and what is being done to combat this type of crime. In our first blog she explained the rise of fake firms.

The impact fake firms have on conveyancing

For a criminal, hijacking a law firm is ideal because it represents a respected and legitimate conveyancing brand, making it easier for the criminal to convince others that they are ‘safe’ to send money to ‘you’.

The impact on a legitimate law firm could be devastating.

If your firm is cloned, copied or infiltrated, you may be accused of being involved. This could result in lenders removing you from their panels whilst an investigation is conducted damaging your brand and reputation resulting in loss of client trust. It could take years before the trust is rebuilt, but by that point will the law firm survive?

Conveyancing fraud has started to hit the headlines, mainly due to the vast amounts of money being pilfered, but also because people in positions of trust are having their identity stolen to assist in the theft.

Although the adage is that today’s news is tomorrows chip paper, the press and public perception of the conveyancing sector is tainted due to rogues slipping through the net making off with £25million (in 2017).

It is now paramount for firms to check, double and even triple check the details of the people they are corresponding with. As technology is moving on, more can be done to check the legitimacy of the firms you’re dealing with.

The SRA Risk Outlook 2017/18 recommends using a lawyer checking service like Lawyer Checker to ensure that the firm you are corresponding with and potentially sending transactions to is legitimate. This will be touched on more in our final blog.

Missed our first blog? You can read it here.