A fast-growing Midland law firm has been targeted by fraudsters attempting to use its name to con people out of money.
HCB Solicitors, which has eight offices in the region and is headquartered in Solihull, is one of three firms across the country to have been targeted by crooks masquerading as bona fide solicitors.
The other firms involved in the most recent attempts to con the public are Bray and Bray Solicitors based in Leicester and London-based St Luce & Co Solicitors.
Alerts have now been put out on the scam by the Solicitors’ Regulation Authority (SRA) with warnings added to the regulatory body’s website. It said con artists were pretending to represent or impersonate solicitors in a bid to scam the public.
Mike Gahan, chief executive of HCB, said the firm was alerted three months ago and got its own Birmingham-based fraud team involved immediately. He said he was confident the perpetrators would be brought to justice due to the efforts of the firm, the SRA and the police.
“A criminal prosecution will obviously result,” he said. “Unfortunately they picked a firm with a fraud team in place, which is a mistake for them because we know how to go after people like this.”
Asked why he thought the firm was targeted Mr Gahan said he believed it may have been due to the high profile it has enjoyed through its rapid expansion. Mr Gahan said professional services firms were targeted because of the trust the public placed in them.
He said it was the first time HCB had been targeted but was not aware of anyone having fallen victim to the scam. He urged anyone who fell victim to fraud to seek help at the earliest opportunity. “Generally in fraud the earlier you get the solicitors involved the easier it is to recover any losses,” he said.
An SRA spokesman said anyone with information about or dealings with anyone claiming to be these individuals, particularly involving the payment of money, should be reported to the police via www.action-fraud.police.uk or via the SRA red alert line on 0845 850 0999.
Mr Gahan said the investigations would not derail HCB’s ambitious plans for continued growth, adding the company was looking at another two firms and is set to announce another acquisition on January 1. It has offices in Solihull, Birmingham, Alcester, Lichfield, Redditch, Stratford-upon-Avon, Walsall and Sutton Coldfield.