Legal Firms Cloned Identities
In prison, SIM cards are valuable commodities to the inmates. So it was with some concern that we encountered a firm’s identity being cloned for the commission of crime.
An unusual “return to sender” in the post relating to an inmate in one of Her Majesty’s Prisons, raised an eyebrow or two in the office. The package (which had been returned to us as the sender), contained a thick bundle of blank documents, and concealed in the middle, were 20 #SIM cards.
The simple ruse involved creating rubber stamps that purported to suggest that the contents were subject to legal privilege Rule 39.
As a firm, we are very protective of our professional identity and take great care to ensure that everything that we submit to clients, solicitors or government agency is suitably protected – either by use of secure email systems, encryption or other methods. However, that doesn’t stop the unscrupulous!
Over the course of the last six months, we have become aware of the use of cloned company, as several packages have been intercepted before being received by the inmate. The source of the SIM cards is unknown and the sender is untraceable.
Whilst the occurrence was reported to the police and the Prison Service notified, in reality there is little that can be done. The Solicitors Regulatory Authority provides advice if you are concerned that a law firm may be bogus. Solicitors Regulatory Authority
Firms must take reasonable steps to prevent their identity being used by criminals. They must also take reasonable steps in their dealings with other firms to ensure that neither they or their clients fall victim to bogus firms. This is consistent with Principle 8 of the SRA Handbook, which requires firms to run their business in accordance with sound risk management principles.