Warning: Scam service mis-using the name and credentials of “Ward and Co Insolvency Practitioners Limited” and incorrectly claiming the credentials of Jerome Green as an authorised Insolvency Practitioner.
29 July 2022
A fake website together with telephone calls and follow up letters are being actively used to impersonate services from the firm “Ward and Co Insolvency Practitioners Ltd”, in relation to supposed insolvency investigations, claims purchase and prosecutions of a number of different historical financial scam companies.
What is the scam?
Members of the public may have received calls or letters from someone claiming to be working for “Ward and Co Insolvency Practitioners Ltd.” and stating that they are carrying out investigations for the purpose of prosecuting and recovering financial losses from firms where financial scams previously took place and defrauded clients. The calls might then be followed up with letters and non-disclosure agreements, as well as requests for personal or other documents.
The scammers have created the website https://wardinsolvencyservices.com. They use the email address ‘[email protected]’ and the telephone number 0800 1026334. The fake website, together with telephone calls and follow up letters, are being actively used to impersonate services from the firm “Ward and Co Insolvency Practitioners Ltd” in relation to investors who have lost out on previous financial scam companies.
Jerome Green is not authorised to act as an Insolvency Practitioner by the Insolvency Practitioners Association or any other Recognised Professional Body. The website also claims to have authorisation/membership of the Insolvency Practitioners Association (IPA), which is not the case. The fraudsters have stolen the company identity of a non-practising firm and made up the credentials of a licensed Insolvency Practitioner.
Only individuals can be licensed to undertake insolvency appointments, and it is an offence to act without qualification, which can result in a fine and/or imprisonment.
The IPA does not authorise and/or regulate any licensed Insolvency Practitioner at “Ward and Co Insolvency Practitioners Ltd”. The registered office is in Worcester, but these are not active trading premises. The real company has no marketing presence online and currently does not engage with members of the public directly through this firm. The genuine firm and Director of “Ward and Co Insolvency Practitioners ” has alerted the FCA, Action Fraud and the individual clients or client representatives about these fake service offerings involving the mis-use of the company details of Ward and Co.
The website, calls and letters appear to be part of a wider scam. Multiple firms appear to be involved, and several other genuine insolvency/legal practices may have been ‘cloned’ or had their company ID stolen as part of the broader scam.
What should you do?
When a firm’s or individual’s identity has been copied exactly (or cloned), it is very difficult to spot this initially. Due diligence is necessary and a major priority. If you receive calls or correspondence purporting to be from the aforementioned firms or individuals/companies claiming that they are acting to investigate, assign claims or prosecute a firm who has been involved in a financial scam/fraud, or claims of a similar nature to that described, you should conduct your own due diligence by checking the authenticity of the contact/correspondence by contacting the firm directly and asking for company director ID validation and by using other reliable and established means such as Companies House information to validate Director names. You can also trace firms through business and marketing channels such as LinkedIn for company/personnel profiles and to ask other firms for references. You can contact the IPA to find out if individuals or firms are regulated and authorised by the IPA and verify an individual or firm practice details. You can also check on the Insolvency Service website for practitioner details and their contact details to speak to them directly.
Other verification methods, such as checking public records (e.g. telephone directories and company records) may be required in some circumstances in order to speak to someone other than the person that called you – it is important not to take the content of a website at face value as these details could be mostly genuine in terms of company registration number details, ICO registration number or registered address details. Additionally, you should always go elsewhere to validate whomever appears to ‘regulate’ the firm or ask to speak to the Insolvency Practitioner directly and ask for their licence details as well as a telephone number. It is important to verify the Insolvency Practitioner or company from multiple sources and carefully check the specific details of email addresses and phone numbers.