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Inheritance scams

These scams offer you the false promise of an inheritance to trick you into parting with your money or sharing your bank or credit card details.

How this scam works

A scammer may contact you out of the blue to tell you that you can claim a large inheritance from a distant relative or wealthy benefactor. You may be contacted by letter, phone call, text message, email or social networking message.

The scammer usually poses as a lawyer, banker or other foreign official, and claims that the deceased left no other beneficiaries.

Sometimes the scammer will say you are legally entitled to claim the inheritance. Alternatively, they might say that an unrelated wealthy person has died without a will, and that you can inherit their fortune through some legal trickery because you share the same last name.

You will be told that your supposed inheritance is difficult to access due to government and bank restrictions or taxes in the country where the money is held, and that you will need to pay money and provide personal details to claim it.

Scammers will go to great lengths to convince you that a fortune awaits if you follow their instructions. They may even send you a large number of seemingly legitimate legal documents to sign, such as power of attorney documents. In some cases you may be invited overseas to examine documents and the money.

You may be introduced to a second or even third scammer – posing as a banker, lawyer or tax agent – to 'help facilitate the legal and financial aspects of the transaction'.

If you make a payment, you won’t receive the sum of 'inheritance' money promised to you, and you won't get your money back. You may also leave yourself open to identity theft.


List of Scams

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