Who’s the target?
This scam targets all age groups.
What’s their goal?
To obtain your money by collecting payments for bogus taxes fees on a monetary inheritance that does not exist.
How do they do it?
Someone reaches out to you in the form of a phone call, email, letter, or direct message claiming to be an attorney or law firm alleging that you have inherited a sum of money from a recently deceased relative. Often, they will claim that the inheritance is very sizable, and that you are the sole beneficiary. Then, they will say that a fee or tax needs to be paid on the funds before they can be transferred to you. The fees are alleged to be for transfer costs, certification costs, or estate taxes. Once you send them the funds, they can disappear altogether, or continue to request more fees until you run out of money.
- They’re requesting you make payment in the form of money order or wire transfer, sometimes to another country
- They encourage you to keep this matter confidential
- They’re asking you for personal information like your bank account details
How can we stay safe?
- Don't be fooled by legitimate-looking logos, these can be copied easily
- Don’t respond. Legitimate inheritances do not require a fee up front
- Research examples of these scam communications so you can identify the warning signs
If you think you have been scammed:
- Contact all your financial institutions as soon as possible
- Contact FTC.gov
- Contact the Social Security Fraud Hotline (if applicable)
- Contact the DMV (if applicable)