The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has also issued a warning to the public about bogus solicitors who clone genuine firms in order to obtain money by deception.
“Brokers are in a unique position to help combat this,” suggested Eddie Goldsmith, senior partner at Goldsmith Williams, “as clients often look to them to give a recommendation on a solicitor to use for their conveyancing. So we wanted to highlight to brokers what they and their clients should be on the look-out for.”
Commonly, scamming firms cold call or email clients out of the blue asking for payment in advance for the release of monies, he said.
• Check for a match between the firm’s address, telephone number, website details and any individual claiming to work for that firm’s details
• Check that the firm is registered at Companies House
• Look at the detail behind any contact information such as the building number does appear on the street quoted
Goldsmith Williams also checks the seller’s solicitors contact and registration details on the Law Society’s roll of solicitors or, if the seller instructed a Licensed Conveyancer, we conduct a check on the Council for Licensed Conveyancers website.
“Scamming and fraud are both scourges of our industry – brokers can play a key role in tackling this by recommending reputable firms of solicitors to purchasers thereby safeguarding their clients’ financial interests,” said Goldsmith.