The New Zealand Law Society has previously reported on fake lawyers from Liberia to the United States, and India to New Zealand itself, now the spectre of wholly fake law firms has raised its ugly head in Scotland.
The Law Society of Scotland has issued a warning following the issue of five fraud alerts in the past month.
The most recent involved a firm calling itself Bansal & Co LLP said to be based at addresses in Edinburgh and London. However, the Society says there is no firm of Scottish solicitors called Bansal & Co LLP.
The Law Society of Scotland says the alleged scam is being investigated and that any necessary action will be taken.
The Society’s President Alison Atack is quoted in The Scotsman as saying consumers’ confusion over the difference between a solicitor and a lawyer could leave people vulnerable to unscrupulous fraudsters or poor advice.
“The terms solicitor and lawyer are often used interchangeably, with a public perception that all lawyers are fully qualified and regulated,” she said.
“However, it is not necessary for someone to have any kind of qualification, knowledge or experience in law or to be regulated to be able to call themselves a lawyer.
“While all solicitors can be referred to as lawyers, not everyone who calls themselves a lawyer is entitled to call themselves a solicitor.”