Spider man clone

painful  headache right hassle* for the firm


Wright Hassall's website has been cloned by a mysterious person or group.

The Leamington Spa based firm's website has been renamed and rebranded by an imposter website called 'Phil Large', with huge chunks of the Wright Hassall site being replicated. 

RollOnFriday was alerted to the site by a source, who speculated that the site may have been created an "ex employee with a grudge".

While the scam name, Phil Large, sounds like it could be a WWE wrestler or a Plus-Size clothing brand, the source opined:  "It's unlikely to be a coincidence that the domain name relates to the Managing Partner, Phil Wilding". However, the identity of the scammer(s), their motives, and reason for the website's branding all remain unclear. So the name may be nothing to do with the firm's boss. 

Anyway, here's some of the dastardly cloning at work:


Spot the differences, large and small:

PL
WH 01

 


One of these is a gimmick:

PL gimmick
WH Hist

The scammers generously link to some of the genuine firm's marketing videos, but unfortunately, not this one:  

YT

While the scam site ranks on Google, hopefully it won't cause too much confusion for people searching for its namesake:


PL GooglePL 2Phil Large

It's not the first time a firm has had their website cloned, and in some cases, the scammers can have a real axe to grind.

A Wright Hassall spokeswoman told RollOnFriday: "It has come to our attention that a significant amount of our website has been copied and used on a website purporting to belong to another law firm. We immediately ascertained that there was no law firm of that name authorised by the SRA. We therefore reported this matter to the SRA and are taking steps in an attempt to remove the content of the website." 

"We are concerned that the website may be used to facilitate a fraud on unsuspecting individuals who may wrongly believe, by reference to the website, that they are dealing with a reputable law firm," she said. Also referring to warnings by the SRA on scams, she added: "We suggest that your readers follow the relevant guidance applicable to such circumstances which can be found on the SRAs website to ensure their clients are not the victims of any such fraud".

An SRA spokesperson told RollOnFriday: “We continue to deal with reports about law firms’ identities being cloned in a bid to scam the public. In the first half of the business year we have issued 170 alerts on our scam page about these, including details on phone calls from those pretending to be law firms, spoofed/copied firm websites and inheritance scams."

“Law firms can play a part in protecting their own identity, for example by regularly looking for your firm name on a search engine," the regulator's spokesperson added. "Policing such scams does not fall within our remit, however. This is criminal activity and is dealt with by relevant national police services and departments, such as Action Fraud.” 

The SRA's page on scams can be viewed here

*Apologies, ROF had no choice with the caption.


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Comments

Silius Soddus 31 May 24 12:19

Wright Hassall, what a great name for a firm. It's up there with Argue and Phibbs llp

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