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Inheritance Scam

Scams involving fraudulent inheritance claims.

How it Works

Scam artists send official looking letters to potential victims claiming they have an inheritance waiting to be claimed. The letters appear to be from bank officials, asking for information, including bank account information, to proceed with the claim. The letters offer you the false promise of a windfall to trick you into parting with your money or sharing your banking information. 

How to Protect Yourself

Be aware of these signs of an inheritance scam:

  • You are contacted out of the blue by a scammer posing as a lawyer or bank official offering you a large inheritance from a distant relative or wealthy person.  Remember: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. 
  • The letter uses official-looking letterhead or logos but will usually contain spelling mistakes or awkward language.
  • The logos appear grainy, as if they’ve been cut and pasted onto the letter.
  • You are asked to provide bank account documents and copies of identity documents as verification.
  • Follow-up correspondence with the scammer may request you to pay a series of fees, charges or taxes to release the inheritance money. Fees may be small amounts initially, but you may be asked to make more and larger payments.

Never provide personal or financial information to an unsolicited individual who has reached out suggesting they have an inheritance for you and be very wary of any arrangements that require you to pay a fee to receive the money, as it is likely a scam.

How to Report It

Report inheritance scams to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.  If you’ve been a victim of an inheritance scam you should file a report with TransUnion and Equifax and also change your password and PIN for all online banking or financial services accounts and contact your bank or financial institution immediately. 

FCNB is responsible for the administration, education and enforcement of provincial legislation that regulates securities, insurance, pensions, credit unions and certain consumer services. If your complaint relates to an area outside of FCNB’s regulated areas, we may refer you to the appropriate reporting agency or organization.

Learn more about how to report fraud and where to report fraud

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