Due to the increasing easy accessibility of personal data, inheritance scams are becoming more prevalent. These scammers offer you a false promise of an outstanding inheritance to trick you into sharing your bank or credit card information in an attempt to take your money.
What Are Inheritance Scams?
You may be contacted via phone, email, text or sent an official letter stating that you have a legal claim to an inheritance due to a variety of reasons. Such as a long-lost relative or they may even invite you into to collect an inheritance through legal trickery with a person that shares your last name.
They will go great lengths to convince you that a fortune is waiting for you. The problem will be that the inheritance is troublesome to obtain due to government regulations, taxes or bank regulations of the country where the inheritance is waiting.
They will produce very real looking legal documents for you to sign. The ultimate goal is for the scammer to get you to turn over your banking information and any other way to access your financial information and even complete identity theft.
A lot of these scams originated in Nigeria by someone overseas asking for you assist in transferring the money out of the country in return for a large payment. This has now become a worldwide epidemic.
The Warning Signs:
- You’re contacted by someone alleging to be a lawyer or banker.
- You are offered a large sum of money.
- You are presented with fake but very legitimate looking legal documents
- You are requested to provide personal information such as bank account details, copies of identification documents such as birth certificates, etc.
- You will be asked for fees for processing the inheritance starting off small and then increasing to more significant amounts.
How to Protect Yourself:
- NEVER turn over any personal information to anyone that you don’t know.
- NEVER make any payments to anyone that you don’t know.
- If you are considering participating in the scammer’s offer, please seek legal advice from a professional before acting.
- Search the internet or contact Social Catfish to investigate if the information provided by the scammer.
What to Do If You’ve Been Affected with an Inheritance Fund Scam
If you think you have been a victim of an online scam, contact the ACCC and also the legal authorities. Protect your financial assets and personal information immediately.
Also, use Social Catfish to do a reverse search to catch the culprit:
Don’t Forget to Take Precaution
The bottom line is we are all vulnerable to these inheritance scam predators, but statistically, 20% of victims are over 55 years of age, and 43% are over the age of 65. It is about 50/50 regarding male and female victims. Contact method is mainly by mail and email. Everyone needs to be aware and take precautions.
If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!
Do a reverse search today and check if you haven’t been scammed online:
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