Fraudulent Use of the Allen & Overy Brand
Like many other reputable law firms, the Allen & Overy brand and the names of our partners or staff may be used in connection with fraudulent schemes, including fraudulent emails, letters or phone calls. These scams may take many forms and are subject to constant change. In some cases, they may be seeking personal or confidential information, in others they may be requesting advance payment or debt settlement. Recent examples include the following:
Inheritance, or legal services, fraud
Third parties impersonate our lawyers in an attempt to get you to pay in advance for legal services, often in relation to a possible inheritance. Common themes are ‘a late relative’ with the same surname as the recipient, and the impersonation of our lawyers, including Lionel Shawe, Wayne Lee, Nick Williams, Marc Feider, and Richard Evans. Allen & Overy does not administer estates [or market itself in this way].
Third parties purporting to be, or act on behalf of, Allen & Overy using a fraudulent domain, such as “allenandovery.com”, “allenovery-partner.com”, or “allenovery-lawfirm.com”. Allen & Overy’s legitimate website is at www.allenovery.com.
Third parties impersonating Allen & Overy partners or staff using email addresses provided by Gmail, Outlook.com, Hotmail or Yahoo. Allen & Overy does not use Gmail, Outlook.com, Hotmail or Yahoo email addresses. Please also be alert to the use of email addresses associated with fraudulent domains, as set out above. Legal communications from Allen & Overy partners and staff will only originate from @allenovery.com. Marketing communications may come from the following domains: @mail.allenovery.com; @aohub.com.
Fraudsters will email members of staff purporting to be a senior figure within the organisation, usually the CEO. In the email the member of staff will be asked to make contact with a lawyer - a fraudulent email address for the lawyer will be used eg. @allenovery-lawyers.com. Once contact is made the staff member will be told to keep the matter confidential and be asked to transfer sums of money to the lawyer’s account. The member of staff will do what their boss has instructed, only to find that the money has been sent to the fraudster’s bank account.
Law firms’ clients are at risk of fraud by criminals who attempt to inform them of incorrect bank details for their lawyers. Allen & Overy does not regularly change its bank details, accordingly our clients should take steps to verify any apparent change of bank details 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.
Action you may take
Always exercise caution in relation to unexpected or unusual communications, particularly where they exhibit any of the above features.
The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) publishes scam alerts to advise the public when the name of a SRA regulated entity is being misused. Full details all scam alerts can be found at https://www.sra.org.uk/consumers/scam-alerts/.
We recommend that you report fraudulent correspondence to your email or telephone provider and do not respond to it. You can also report the incident to Action Fraud (UK), Federal Trade Commission (US), or your local police service.