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Inheritance fraud

Some get a message, letter, or contract letter from someone who claims to be from a law firm, and they inform you that you will receive a huge inheritance from a close relative. The message is, "Unfortunately, a customer died leaving a bank account with an open beneficiary status." 

The mail comes from the person administering the inheritance, and he failed to identify any other relatives. As a result, the money will be transferred to the government or the mail recipient. They claim they were searching for the missing heirs of the dead relative.

How Do the Tricksters Earn Through Inheritance Fraud?

The communication informs that you received a huge amount of money or property through an inheritance from a dead relative. If you try to find out more about the message or the contact address, you will find it turns out to be a potential fraud. There is no inheritance, and the person who tries to contact is not a legal official. 

All such communications aim to get your account details and home address. Then, they seek various fees, taxes, banking, and other charges to release your non-existent inheritance. They often send multiple emails to many accounts and wait to get responses. Then, they filter the responses to identify the targets. 

They send a suspicious letter and ask for a small charge or transaction fee to transfer money into your account or ask to pay the admin fee to extract the bank details. 

They may request to send more details required to wire transfer the funds into the recipient's account. As a result, they get all the details they can use to commit identity theft. 

How To Spot It?

  • There may be no return address of the mail.  

  • Legal firms will never email you about an inheritance from someone you do not know. There may be no banking or authorised identification of the message's sender.

  • The names used in the emails can be unique – unidentifiable. 

  • The messages will tell "once in a lifetime opportunity to earn" or "fill in the details to complete the transaction."

  • All the letters and documents from the tricksters are written in poor English, and one may find multiple mistakes or errors.

  • The legal terms used may appear inaccurate. They give strange explanations or stories like a relative who died in a plane crash, which has no credibility and cannot be trusted or approved by any authorised agency.

  • Be alert of the messages coming through webmail addresses like @yahoo or @hotmail. 

How To Protect Yourself?

  • Report the crime to the authorities. End all contact with the criminals and do not pay any fee to strangers claiming to be from a law firm. 

  • Do not provide them information – personal or bank. If you get threats, alert the police. 

  • The scammers often target those they have already targeted or approached, using different identities. If they claim to get you a refund of the fee you submitted, stop communication and report it to the authorities.

Date Published: Sep 12, 2023

Types of fraud

A-Z of fraud

To help understand which fraud you've been affected by, we've categorised them into an alphabetical list.

What is fraud and cyber crime?

Cybercrimes can be of two types. First, it can be cyber dependent, where the fraudsters use online devices to convince the victim to accept their offers.

Advance fee fraud

If you are trying to get a loan for a house or a car, they ask to meet the provider to get the financing arrangement and pay the finder's fee in advance.

Corporate fraud

Corporate frauds can be complicated, committed either by the firm or an individual. Nevertheless, it mostly involves cheating where the employee or the firm.

Individual fraud

There are many types of individual frauds related to advance fees, investments, insurance brokers, bogus tradespeople, Ponzi schemes, pension liberation.

Online fraud

Hence the number of cases of online fraud is increasing each year, and most such cases include – account takeover, direct frauds, or scams related domain names.

Identity fraud and identity theft

The criminal uses the stolen identity of another person living or deceased to conduct unlawful activities like obtaining goods or services in another's name.

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