The FTC has been getting reports of people getting letters in the mail from a law firm. They are, they say, looking for the heir of a multi-million-dollar inheritance. And they think it might be you. (Spoiler alert: it’s not.)
Here’s what they offer: they’ll split the inheritance between you, their law firm, and some charities. One other thing: they say you have to keep this information secret and reach out to them by email — immediately.
So what’s really happening? This is not a lawyer — it’s a scammer. And if you email them, they’ll probably try to get your personal information, like your Social Security or bank account numbers, your money — or both. And that inheritance? It doesn’t exist.
Here’s what to do if you get one of these letters:
- Don’t respond. Keep your money — and your information — to yourself. Never send money or information to a stranger who promises big rewards. That’s always a scam.
- Pass this information on to a friend. You probably throw away these kinds of letters. But you probably know someone who could use a friendly reminder.
- Report it to the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.
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The purpose of this blog and its comments section is to inform readers about Federal Trade Commission activity, and share information to help them avoid, report, and recover from fraud, scams, and bad business practices. Your thoughts, ideas, and concerns are welcome, and we encourage comments. But keep in mind, this is a moderated blog. We review all comments before they are posted, and we won’t post comments that don’t comply with our commenting policy. We expect commenters to treat each other and the blog writers with respect.
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I know someone who received a letter of this type! He replied to the scammer and started the process, even researching his family tree to find the 'long lost relative.' He kept it secret from his wife. He went to a lawyer to have it researched. His lawyer communicated with the scammer! His lawyer then reported back that yes, this is legit. The scammer had an official- looking (fake) law firm website in the UK. Phone calls from my friend's lawyer to the phone number on the fake site made this seem totally legit.
My friend was told that the inheritance was over $11M and that he would get all the $$ but then wire transfer the scammer's "fee" to them, as well as $3M for charity. The process of setting up bank accounts had started already. I didn't get involved until far into the process but stopped my friend from communicating any further. I never heard more from my friend on this topic, but I sure hope he didn't just shut me out and continue to pursue! He was so convinced!
I get emails every day ; some days I get several , saying my email address has been chosen to receive millions of dollars. I know that is a scam. Nobody gives away that much money. I wish they would stop sending these.
In reply to I get emails every day ;… by Charlotte
Got the same thing about inheritance money in my email but I don't really understand that so I didn't contact them but it is in my email that they've been contacting me and they have been contacting my family member of mine.
It seems the scams just keep on coming!
As a caregiver for my mom, I have to monitor all phone calls and correspondence she receives. I turn the ringer off on her phone. The phone calls and mail are relentless and never ending. We receive about 10-20 calls a day. It is useless in changing the phone service and/or numbers, because the calls just keep on coming.
In reply to It seems the scams just keep… by Sharon Chambers
I can relate. I finally had to pay for a phone app that has filters and blockers I can set up and adjust for contacts only, no one, forwarding, etc. Total lifesaver.
Hugh red flag that an attorney would even suggest splitting the inheritance. The attorney would of already been paid by the trustee or fiduciary. Throw the letter away, immediately.
If these 'scam letters' are being sent through the U.S. mail, isn't it a federal crime to use the U.S. Postal Service to facilitate a financial crime? So, shouldn't the recipients of these letters save them as evidence of such crime for federal authorities (instead of throwing them away)??? Shouldn't people notify the U.S. Postal Service Investigative Service, or the FBI, when they receive such letters?
Why isn't any of this mentioned in your 'consumer alert'?
Isn't this mail fraud? Report postal scams to the postal inspector.
We have been contacted by Legacy Probate international about a cousin of ours that died without a will. Is this part of the scam?
In reply to We have been contacted by… by Pattie
I also heard from this company and am unsure. How can we find a list of reported and confirmed scammers?
Hacker,scam.ers im sick of all them
I’ve already reported it
How low will these scammers go?
Im SO tired of the calls, then they put you on hold. WHO DOES THAT? Calls you and puts you on hold? How RUDE!
These scammers are the worse form of life, and dont deserve the PASS that you are giving them for the past 10 yrs. ITS DISPICABLE! You COULD start charging the companies who allow the scammers to use SPOOFING APPs, but you do NOTHING when we take the time to report them. WHY cant you do more to stop these HARRASSING PHONE CALLS?