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Micron Associates: Advisers warned over land registry

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Advisers warned over land registry phishing scam


An email message purporting to be from The Land Registry may actually be a malicious fake and advisers or brokers that arrange mortgages could be particularly at risk, an IFA has warned.


Neil Liversidge, managing director of West Riding Personal Financial Solutions, received an email claiming to be from The Land Registry telling him a direct debit of £208 would soon be taken from his account.


The message went on to say details of what was to be paid could be viewed by opening an attached .zip file.


Thinking something was amiss, Mr Liversidge called The Land Registry only to receive a recorded message warning against scam emails such as this.


Mr Liversidge told FTAdviser advisers could be at particular risk of falling for this scam because of how genuine the message looks and the fact that intermediaries arranging mortgages would have an account with Land Registry.


“I wouldn’t mind betting that if you open that .zip file it fishes data from your computer. Anybody who is doing mortgages is going to have some sort of dealing with The Land Registry. It isn’t an impossible amount of money and the [telephone] number [they provide] is genuine.”


A disclaimer at the bottom of the message sent to Mr Liversidge suggests it came from Middlesborough law firm QualitySolicitors Punch Robson, most likely meaning that a contact book of an employee at the firm has been compromised.


A common method of distributing messages in a scam of this nature would mean if someone at that firm had opened the attached file, the message may have sent itself to every email address in that person’s contact book. Other advisers that have dealt with the firm could therefore receive similar messages.


A spokesperson for QualitySolicitors Punch Robson told FTAdviser the author of these emails has copied the firm’s email disclaimer in an effort to make the message seem more authentic, and that the firm does not work with the companies who appear to be receiving the scam emails.

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