Citing twin law firm websites (1 real, 1 fake), bar group urges public to beware
Wednesday, August 12, 2015
Posted by: Beth Warrington
By Martha Neil, ABA Journal
Add another law firm to the growing list of those whose partners have been horrified to discover that they have an Internet twin.
For anyone who might happen to see both the Hughes Dowdall website for an actual Scottish law firm and the purported London-based Damian Alden Law Chambers site, the resemblance is striking.
Both sites have the identical home page, except for the law firm details. And both show the same three photographs at the beginning of their "Our People” page. (The names are the same or similar for two of the three photos, but Hughes Dowdall senior partner Michael Foster is listed as "Damian Alden” on the fake site.)
However, only the Hughes Dowdall website is for an actual law firm, the Law Society of Scotland has warned in a scam alert. On the "Damian Alden” site, "a fraudulent firm of solicitors have copied the website of a genuine firm and are using their names and photographs in an attempt to deceive potential clients,” the bar group says.
Such misappropriation of real law firms’ website format and content is on the rise, bar groups say, and the Law Society of Scotland is urging potential clients to check lawyers’ credentials rather than assuming that a seeming online lawyer is the real deal.
Michael Foster, the Hughes Dowdall senior partner, told Scottish Legal News that his firm was appalled to learn that its website had been copied.
"I am very concerned about this hijacking of our website and our personnel and the potential for damage to our hard-won reputation,” he said. "It’s horrifying to think an unsuspecting and entirely innocent member of the public could be conned and suffer loss as a result of this.”
Although the law society issued its scam alert July 7, which says police were notified of the twin "Damian Alden” website, it was still live Aug. 7.
Source: ABA Journal