Untitled design (15)

Dearest one,

I am Mrs. Mercy Kings a widow suffering from long time illness (Cancer),there funds I inherited from my late loving husband Mr Jecob Kings, the sum of (US$5.500,000.00) which he deposited in bank before his death, I need a honest and God fearing person that can use these funds for God’s work.

I took this decision because I don’t have any child that will inherit this money and I don’t want a situation where this money will be used in an ungodly way. That is why I am taking this decision, and my doctor has confirmed to me that I have less than three months to live, having known my condition I decided to donate this fund to a charity or individual that will utilize this money to assist the poor and the needy in accordance to my instructions.

I want an organization that will use this fund for orphanages, school and church, widows, propagating the word and work of God.

Please if you would be able to use these funds for the Lord’s work kindly reply me. As soon as I have received your response, I will give you further directives on how you are to go about the claims of the said funds.

Yours Sister in Christ

I’m afraid I’m going to disappoint you. It’s a scam.

This is just the first shot in the scammer’s attempts to get money out of you. Once you reply to this initial email (or letter or phone call), you will be invariably told that the inheritance is difficult to get out of the country due to taxes, government restrictions or bank restrictions. They will ask you to provide personal details and pay money to access your inheritance.

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’.

identity-theft3If 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.

ScamWatch lists the following as warning signs of a scam:

  • You are contacted out of the blue by a scammer posing as a lawyer or banker and offering you a large inheritance from a distant relative or wealthy individual.
  • The offer looks convincing and may use official-looking letterhead and/or logos, but will usually contain spelling mistakes and grammatical errors.
  • The size of the supposed inheritance may be very large, sometimes many millions of dollars, and may be quoted in foreign currency.
  • You are provided with fake bank statements, birth certificates and other documents if you question the legitimacy.
  • You are asked to provide your bank account details, copies of identity documents as verification, and to pay a series of fees, charges or taxes to help release or transfer the money out of the country through your bank.
  • Fees may initially be for small amounts but you will be asked to make further larger payments.
  • The scammer offers to meet you in person to verify the proposal, but this rarely eventuates.

There are ways you can protect yourself from scams like this one. The golden rule of scams is that if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.

  • Check out websites like scamwatch.gov.au which will have details of current scams
  • Never send money upfront – it’s unlikely you will ever see this money again
  • Never provide copies of personal documents, credit card details, or identity documents to someone you don’t know, and never by email
  • If you think it’s legitimate, seek the advice of a lawyer to confirm it

We can help with any of your estate planning needs, from drafting a will to contesting a will. Contact us today for your FREE, 10-minute phone consultation.