Inheritance Scammers Still Exist

Bigstock-Scam-Computer-Keys-Showing-Swi-30123554Most scammers are not very creative or original. They do not need to be, because ordinary, run-of-the-mill scams that have worked for decades continue to work. The best way to make sure that you are not a victim is to know about the scams ahead of time. One of the most common scams involves receiving an unexpected inheritance.

Everyone who had an email account in the 1990s knows about the Nigerian Prince scam as they probably received dozens, if not hundreds, of variations of the scam in their inboxes.

The basic idea behind the scam was that an extremely wealthy person in Nigeria had his accounts frozen or could not transfer money out of the country without help. The scammer either requested that money be sent or that bank account numbers be sent to facilitate the transfer of the scammer's assets for which the person would be rewarded handsomely later.

That this was a scam seems obvious, as why would some wealthy African need the assistance of random Americans? However, everyone knows about the scam because it worked. The scammer just needs one person out of millions to take the bait. That is true with most common scams. Only one person needs to take the bait to make attempting to scam thousands worth the scammer's time.

Another old scam is still making the rounds, according to the Wichita Eagle in "A long-lost relative left you money? Beware of inheritance scams."

In this scam, the intended victim is told that a relative has left them an inheritance, but to get the inheritance, the victim must first pay the scammer money to facilitate the transfer. Often this scam can be very personal, as the victim is given the name of a real relative who died or lived in a faraway place as the person who left the inheritance. That makes the scam sound plausible.

The best way to protect against this scam is to know it exists, and if you receive anything that looks like it, to check with other relatives before sending any money to claim the inheritance.

Still not convinced that the scam is a phony? Contact an estate planning attorney to check it out for you.

For more information about estate planning, please visit my estate planning website.

Reference: Wichita Eagle (August 21, 2015) "A long-lost relative left you money? Beware of inheritance scams"


Brooklyn Woman Forges Inheritance Docs, Scams $300k from Friends

1413882665285_wps_1_Use_of_a_credit_card_in_tA Brooklyn woman scammed $300,000 from her friends by telling them she had inherited a boatload of cash but needed their dough to pay off the estate’s taxes and liens, prosecutors said Tuesday.

You may have heard of inheritance scams before, but this one is slightly different.

Normally a scammer pretends to be an attorney or estate agent. They tell a potential victim that the victim has inherited a large fortune from an estranged or long lost relative. However, before the victim can get the inheritance, the scammer claims that the victim must cough up large sums of money to pay off taxes or other debts that the estate holds.

A woman in Brooklyn is alleged to have turned this standard inheritance scam around.

She forged bank documents to make it look like she had received an inheritance for $13 million in cash. She then went to her friends and convinced some of them that to get the cash she needed money to pay the estate's taxes and debts.

She is alleged to have conned $300,000 from up to ten people.

The New York Post has more on the story in a recent article titled "Woman busted in $300K inheritance scam: DA."

Avoiding inheritance scams is easy.

If someone you do not know asks for money concerning an inheritance, especially if it seems too good to be true, consult with an estate attorney before spending any money.

If the person objects to you receiving the advice of an attorney, run away!

No legitimate estate administrator would object to an attorney being consulted.

In this particular case, the attorney would have told the victims that any taxes or other debts could have been paid out of the cash in the estate, if in fact the inheritance were real.

For more information about estate planning, please visit my estate planning website.

Reference: New York Post (April 14, 2015) "Woman busted in $300K inheritance scam: DA."

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