Carters Georges Solicitors of London scam targets same name relations
Sherlock Holmes once solved a case where a man with an unusual last name was tricked into believing he was the heir to a fortune. In The Adventure of the Three Garridebs, it is the use of American English (“plows” instead of “ploughs”) that helps alert Holmes to the scam.
A century after the story was written, the same idea is being used by Nigerians to target New Zealanders. Information received by the Law Society shows that New Zealand lawyers have been contacted by clients who have received an apparently genuine letter from a firm of London solicitors inviting their participation in a ruse to capitalise on their uncommon last name.
The clients have received a letter on impressively-designed letterhead, addressed to them personally.
The letterhead states that it is from Carters Georges Solicitors, Law Chambers, 35, Vine Street, London, EC3N 2PX. A tagline states: “A Professional Office Environment for Lawyers”. Two scales of justice figures adorn the top corners. The letter also contains the authentic-looking “REF NO: GRE/230/0728/1023”.
The bottom of the letter contains an official-looking stamp (Lawyer Carters Georges London UK) and under the name of the writer is the very dubious claim: “Reliable, Honest and Professional Legal Practitioners”.
The Vine Street address is home to a very reputable (and large) law firm, along with a fancy wine bar, but Carters Georges are absent.
Another warning sign comes from the email address given: email@example.com. The disappearance of the “s” from the firm name and the highly prized address “lawyer.com” raise suspicions. The private email address of firstname.lastname@example.org brings back an “s”, and this is the email the scammer wants to use.
Like the clue left for Sherlock Holmes, the letter is littered with the sort of language, grammar and terminology that a reputable central London solicitor would not use. We reproduce it exactly as written:
Hello [First name]
My name is David George of Carters Georges Solicitors, Barrister and Solicitor at law here in England. I am the personal attorney to Mr Martel [Name of recipient], a national of your Country, who used to work with a Multinational Construction firm in London, England.
On the 20th of March 2005, my client, his wife and their two children were involved in a ghastly auto accident along M4 motor way, towards Heathrow International Airport and all occupants of the vehicle lost their lives. Since then I have made several enquiry to your embassy to find any of Martel’s relatives or close last names and we found you.
I am contacting you to assist in repatriating of my client’s fund in the Bank before it gets confiscated or declared unserviceable. This fund is US$6,000,000.00 (Six Million United States Dollars). Since Late Mr. Martel Died Intestate, I have the legal right to present you as the Beneficiary to this fund. According to the Bank, we have only 30 working days to get this accomplished otherwise the money will be confiscated.
Since you share the same last name with him, I seek your consent to present you as the Beneficiary to the fund so that the proceeds of this account valued at US$6,000,000.00 can be paid to you. Upon the successful completion of this transaction, I shall meet you in your country to negotiate on how this fund will be utilized. May be we can reinvest the fund in your country for our benefit.
I have some of the Legal Papers needed to back you up in this claim. All I require is your honest and maximum co-operation to see this transaction through. Please note that this transaction is 100% legit and you and I have nothing to fear or lose.
If you are willing to assist, pleased kindly contact me on my private mailbox above.
David George (Esq.)
The best advice is to take the letter, tear it in several pieces and file it in the rubbish bin. If there still are doubts, check out this long list of "known scammers". David George from Carters Georges is on it.