Scams happen all the time. While you can perhaps spot a crude type of scam, inheritance scams can be a bit more sophisticated, making them a little harder to catch.
These scams aren’t considered isolated cases and happen on a frequent basis. Knowing how they operate will help you not get duped and save you from future problems.
How scams works
Scammers can contact you by any means; letters, email, phone call, or even via a social media platform message. Text messaging accounts for 36.2% of such scams, while email taking second place with 25.9%.
Scammers pose as anyone of authority, like lawyers, claiming that you have been left an inheritance. They will claim that the deceased person has left no other beneficiaries or may claim that they haven’t been able to contact the immediate heirs, and you’re the next king or anything of the sort to get your attention. You will probably have the same last name of the deceased person.
Mind you, scammers can go out of their way to get you to reply to them, and many people do fall for the bait believing a large inheritance awaits them.
They will use personalized letters giving a very legitimate look, such as power of attorney documents, bank statements, etc. They will tell you to pay money because of legal fees, taxes, etc. This can go on for a while.
How to protect yourself
Since it’s expensive to fight and difficult to prove an inheritance fraud, avoiding inheritance fraud from the beginning is the best way to protect yourself. And it’s always better to recognize the signs early on. Following these simple tips will make sure that you don’t fall for the bait that you’ll be coming into a lot of money (unless you really are).
If the whole thing sounds off, it is truly off! So don’t encourage contact. If there is a bank name involved or an attorney’s name, do an online search and see if they actually exist. Most likely, the supposed bank name or lawyer won’t exist.
Never give out private info
If you suspect something is wrong, never share vital information like your credit card or bank account details and the sorts.
Stay away from upfront payments
You might be asked to make a small payment at the beginning that usually leads to larger payments. Any money you send will never be getting back, which is what scammers depend on.
If contact is being made through a general email platform, it’s most likely a fraud, since legitimate lawyers don’t use them with clients or official work.
Scammers will try to convince you to unwittingly take part in a phony plot to access money left behind by a deceased person who shares your last name. If you think you’re being scammed, and have provided information to someone you shouldn’t have, contact the agencies of this information, be it a bank or credit card service. But avoid reaching that level by cutting all contact with the person addressing you from the get-go. Any suggestion of a payout by someone you don’t know, more often than not, indicate that this person is up to no good.