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Law firms need to be aware of a sophisticated fraud whereby scammers copy firms’ websites wholesale and use all the details to con potential clients.

The website for a fake law firm Owen & Harvey, which has no connection with genuine firm Burges Salmon, seems to have been created to convince people who receive scam emails from fake lawyers that they are dealing with a genuine firm.

A spokesman for the SRA said that the growing instances of fake sites are an area of “great concern” but there was very little it could do besides issuing scam alerts. “If we can identify the website host”, he said, “we contact them to point out that they are providing a service for con artists. This can lead to them taking the site down”. Often, however, the scammers are based overseas, “which makes it even more difficult to do anything, both for us and the police”.