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How the scam works:

(with video below) You receive a message (usually by e-mail, but sometimes via regular mail or social media as well) from somebody who claims to be the widow, the lawyer, or the children of somebody who recently passed away. It could even come from your pen pal, who has been building a friendship with you in the last few months, but now somebody in his/her family just died. Most often, these deaths have occurred in a plane crash.

The person will tell you that they got an inheritance in a foreign bank and they need help getting the funds out. You'll be asked for help and as a reward you will get 20 or 30% of the total inheritance. You will be provided with an attorney’s number or somebody who will apparently take care of the whole process in that foreign country (usually Netherlands or England) and you are supposed to call him, to arrange the details.

To start the process, the lawyer will need a few fees, which victims usually pay knowing that they will get a good chunk of the inheritance later on. Of course, it never happens.

Watch the video below to see a new twist in the Inheritance Scam, exposed in the news.

Inheritance Scam in the News Video

How to avoid:

Never fall for a request for help in getting money out of a foreign country. The scammers know that a large proportion of the people they contract through e-mail or Facebook messages are not knowledgeable enough to recognize that this is just a scam.

Make your friends and family aware of this scam by sharing it, using the buttons above.

There are 82 comments

  • On Monday, May 25, 2015, Jenna wrote:

    Here is one scam email I got today, not just in English but in Spanish as well, from a "Hermana Ruth hanson":

    Donation of Mrs. Ruth Hamson
    Bishop [38 rue des martyrs cocody
    Abidjan, Ivory Coast.

    Dearest one in Christ,

    I am from Kuwait. I am married to Mr. Richead Hamson, who worked with Kuwait embassy in Ivory Coast for nine years before he died in 2004. We were married for eleven years without a child. He died after a brief illness that lasted for only four days.

    Before his death, both born again Christian. Since his death I decided not to remarry or get a child outside my matrimonial home which the Bible is against. When my husband was alive he deposited the sum of ($ 2.5 million) in the bank here in Abidjan suspense account.

    Currently, the fund is still in the bank. Recently, my doctor told me that I have serious sickness which is cancer problem. What disturbs me most is my stroke sickness. Knowing my condition I decided to donate this fund to church or those who utilize this money the way I would recommend here. I want a church that will use this fund for orphanages, widows, to promote the word of God and the effort that the house of God is maintained.

    The Bible is for us to understand that blessed is the hand that gives. I took this decision because I do not have any child that will inherit this money and my husband relatives are not Christians and I do not want my husband's efforts to be used by unbelievers. I do not want a situation where this money will be used in an ungodly manner. That's why I'm taking this decision. I'm not afraid of death, so I know where I'm going. I know that I'm going to be in the bosom of man. Exodus 14 vs 14 says that the lord will fight my case and I hold my peace.

    I do not need a telephone communication in this regard because of my health hence the presence of my husband's relatives around me always and I do not want them to know about this development. In God all things are possible. As soon as I get an answer I will give you contact of the bank here in Abidjan. I want you and the church to always pray for me because the lord is my shepherd. My happiness is that I lived a life worthy Christian. Whoever wants to serve the lord must serve him in spirit and in truth. Always praying for their whole lives.

    Reply me for more information's, in your reply will give me room in sourcing another church or person for the same purpose. Let me assure you that they will act accordingly as specified. Hope to get an answer.

    Send me the following information, as per below.

    Your full name ..........
    Address ...........
    Age ...............
    The occupation ........
    Photo ...............

    Still blessed in you.
    Yours in Christ,
    Sister Ruth Hamson.

    Donación de la señora. Ruth Hamson
    obispo [ 38 rue des mártires cocody
    abidjan, costa de marfil .

    Más querido en Cristo,

    Soy de kuwait . Estoy casada con el sr . Richead Hamson , quien trabajó con la embajada de kuwait en costa de marfil durante nueve años antes de morir en 2004. Nos casamos por once años sin un niño. Murió después de una breve enfermedad que duró sólo cuatro días.

    Antes de su muerte , tanto cristiano nacido de nuevo . Desde su muerte he decidido no volver a casarse o tener un hijo fuera de mi hogar conyugal que está en contra de la biblia. Cuando mi marido estaba vivo él depositó la suma de ( $ 2,5 millones) en el banco aquí en abidjan cuenta de suspenso .

    Actualmente , el fondo se encuentra todavía en el banco. Recientemente , mi doctor me dijo que tengo enfermedad grave que es problema del cáncer . Lo que más me molesta es mi enfermedad del movimiento . Sabiendo que mi condición decidía donar este fondo a la iglesia o los que usan este dinero la manera que se lo recomendaría aquí . Quiero una cola iglesia utilice este fondo para los orfanatos , las viudas , para promover la palabra de dios y la cola esfuerzo la casa de dios se mantiene .

    La biblia es para nosotros entender que que bendito el lado da . Tomé esta decisión porque no tengo cualquier niño que heredará este dinero y mi marido familiares no son cristianos y no quiero que mi marido para ser utilizados por los incrédulos. No quiero una situación donde este dinero será utilizado en una manera impía. Es por eso que estoy tomando esta decisión. No tengo miedo de la muerte, así que sé a dónde voy . Sé que voy a estar en el pecho del hombre. Éxodo 14 vs 14 dice que el señor luchará que mi caso y me callaré .

    No necesito una comunicación del teléfono en este respeto debido a mi salud por lo tanto la presencia de los parientes de mi marido alrededor de mí siempre , y yo no quiero que sepan acerca de este desarrollo. En dios todas las cosas son posibles. Tan pronto como consiga una respuesta le daré el contacto del banco aquí en abidjan . Quiero que tú y la iglesia rogaran siempre para mí porque el señor es mi pastor. Mi felicidad es que viví una vida digna cristiana .El que quiera servir al señor le debe servir en espíritu y en verdad. Siempre orando por sus vidas enteras.

    Responda yo para más información , en su respuesta me dará el sitio en sourcing otra iglesia o una persona con el mismo fin . Aseguro que me dejas que van a actuar en consecuencia a las especificadas. La esperanza de obtener una respuesta.

    Envíame la siguiente información , según abajo .

    Su nombre completo ..........
    Abordar ...........
    Actúa ...............
    La ocupación ........
    Fotos ...............

    siendo bendecido en usted.
    Suyo en cristo,
    Hermana Ruth Hamson

  • On Tuesday, May 19, 2015, Camilla wrote:

    Here is my scammer's email, sent to 'Undisclosed Recipients'

    "My Names are Mrs. Grace Saludareis, I am the Administrative manager at a vault financial & security Institution here in Barcelona.

    I am contacting you based on a financial opportunity I discovered here in my Bank. It's about an abandoned sum of $31. 7m Us Dollars (Thirty One million, Seven Hundred Thousand United State Dollars) in our save deposit vault, that belongs to one of our foreign customers, a citizen of your country that share the same surname with you, who died along with his entire family on the 11th march 2006 in a ghastly car accident in Porto Portugal.

    The banking policy can only allow the release of such funds to a benefactor through an application as next of kin to the deceased.

    After his death, the bank has been expecting a possible beneficiary, but no luck, this institution has exploited all its ethical possibilities in other to contact his possible relatives or inheritors, but to no success since nobody has come over for the claim of the funds for the past 10 years.

    I have made my own research with the help of a private investigator, it is my knowledge that this man has been living in Barcelona for the past 22 years and has never returned back home. I also learnt that his wife and 13 year old daughter died along with him during the car accident. I am 100% sure that no one is aware of the existence of these funds.

    However, because of the international financial crises, a lot of reform has been made within the Spanish financial system, this includes the new law on succession of claims which indicates a duration in which such inheritance could be tolerated.

    The Bank of Spain has mandated our institution to release the funds to the inheritor. Failure to respond to this ultimatum would legally allow the Bank of Spain to confiscate the funds as unclaimed funds (Which of course would go straight to the Government's pocket). It is therefore upon this entire discovery that I have decided to contact you.

    I want you to know that I am a senior member of this office. As an insider, I am equipped with all classified secret information regarding the release of these funds. I would dedicate to make sure that I feed you with all possible documentation and information required for the approval and release of these funds.

    Upon your acceptance to cooperate, I agree that 45% of this money will be for you, 55% for me. Please note that I have ONLY discussed this issue with my husband.

    For time difference and confidential reasons, I strongly advice that you should get back to me via my private email address at (gracesaludareis@yahoo.com) with your contact details immediately you acknowledge the receipt of this mail, so that I would be able to inform you on how this could be concluded.

    In conclusion, it's my concern to demand your ultimate honesty, co-operation and confidentiality to enable us conclude this transaction.

    I fully assured you that this process would be executed under a legitimate arrangement that would legally protect you from any breach of law.

    Please kindly Reply to (gracesaludareis@yahoo.com)

    Mrs.G S"

  • On Monday, May 18, 2015, James Pelletier wrote:

    Here is what I got. Watch out for this scammer!

    68 Doughty Street, London, WC1N 2LS UK

    Dear Friend.

    I am Barrister Harry Beckford, a Legal practitioner here in London and I wish to solicit your assistance in a deal that involves reasonable amount of money. This deal by virtue of its nature must be utterly confidential and top secret. Though I know that transaction of this magnitude will make any one apprehensive and worried, but I am assuring you that this will be done under a legitimate arrangement that will protect both of us from any breach of the law.

    Like I stated above, I am a Legal practitioner here in London and I came to know you in my private search for a reliable and reputable Business Person/individual that can handle this confidential deal with me, which requires maximum confidence and trust from both sides.


    I had a wealthy client named Satoshi Nagata who was one of the richest men in Japan but did most of his businesses in Germany and middle east . He was into several businesses before his untimely death in an air mishap in March 2015. This website will give you comprehensive picture of what I am talking about:

    [fake website]

    My client who died along with his wife deposited the Sum of $41.7 Million (Forty One million, Seven Hundred Thousand United States Dollars Only) with a bank here in the UK.During the bank audit exercise, the bank discovered my late client's deposit as an unclaimed credit balance, hence issued me a notice to provide any relatives of my client otherwise they will have the account closed and the fund confiscated. I have made several inquiries to his high commission to locate my client's extended relatives, but all my efforts proved abortive, I then decided to trace his relatives or family member over the internet, and hence I found you as my instinct convinced me that you will be a trustworthy and honest business partner and I decided to contact you to assist me with the legal transfer of my late client's deposit before it is confiscated or declared unserviceable by the Financial institution where the fund is lodged.

    I now seek your permission to present you as my deceased client relative and have you stand as the Next of Kin to my deceased client so that the funds of $41.7 Million (Forty One million, Seven Hundred Thousand United States Dollars Only) can be released and paid into your account as the beneficiary and next of kin.

    I will provide all necessary legal documents that can be used to back up your claim. Please get in touch with me immediately if you are interested to assist me and send to me your contact address, and direct telephone number, then I will commence work in your name. Be informed that this transaction is risk free otherwise my chambers will not contact you because it is against our ethics. Please acknowledge receipt of this message in acceptance of our mutual business endeavor by furnishing me with the followings;

    4) AGE
    7) SEX

    These requirements will enable us file letters of claim to the appropriate departments for necessary approvals in your favor. Call me as soon as you receive this message for further clarification.

    Looking forward to your prompt response.Private e-mail to reply all your infos to : fiveyrsjh@ukr.net

    Yours Sincerely,

    Barrister Harry Beckford(Esq).
    Phone Number: +44-704-578-9371
    E-mail: fiveyrsjh@ukr.net no recipient addresses found in header

  • On Monday, May 11, 2015, shytune wrote:

    Hello Friend

    I am Mr Paul Tan Wong a staff of Lloyds TSB Group Plc. here in Singapore attached in Private Banking Services, I contacted you as regards to a business proposal that will be of an immense benefit to both of us and the less privileged ones.

    All confirmable documents to back up the claims will be made available to you prior to your acceptance and as soon as I receive your return mail Via my email address, I will let you know what is required of you.

    You do not know my Client Late Abu Minyar al-Gaddafi in person do you? I was his companion for years he did business with my bank here in Hong Kong, He has various accounts used to launder billions of dollars all over the world as he is a very influential man, No one is getting in trouble and if you do not want to be part of this you are free to pull out now but i assure you this opportunity is worth taking.

    What I wish to relate to you might be a smack of unethical practice but I want you to understand something; it is only an outsider to the banking world who finds the internal politics of the banking world aberrational. The world of private banking especially is fraught with huge rewards for those who occupy certain offices and oversee certain portfolios; you should have begun by now to put together the general direction of what I propose. There is USD$85 Million (Eighty Five Million united states dollars) deposited, I alone have the deposit details and they will release the deposit to no one unless I instruct them to do so. I alone know of the existence of this deposit for as far as my finance firm is concerned, the transaction with our deceased customer concluded when I sent the funds to the firm in Malaysia, all outstanding interactions in relation to the file are just customer services and due process. The finance firm has no single idea of what's the history or nature of the deposit, they are simply awaiting instructions to release the deposit to any party that comes forward, and this is the situation. This bank has spent great amounts of money trying to track the family of the deceased; they have investigated for months and have found no family but however the investigation has officially come to an end.

    My proposal; I am prepared to place you in a position whereby an instruction is given to the finance firm to officially release the deposit to you as the closest surviving relation/associate, and all etiquette shall be done in accordance with the rule of law, I certainly can guarantee you that. By the common law, the power of bequeathing is coeval with the first rudiments of the law, and this power has been extended to all a man's Personal and Real estate (Personality & Realty). There is no ruling which prevents an inheritance from being so exhausted by legacies as to render it unworthy of the heir's acceptance; basically all persons of sound mind are competent to bequeath and devise real and personal estate, excepting infants, with all this I would say we have the clear advantage to carry out a smooth and perfect operation whereby the paper work shall be coordinated in such a way that your status as a sole beneficiary is confirmed. Upon receipt of the deposit, I am prepared to share the money with you in half and no more; that is: I will simply nominate you as the next of kin and have them release the deposit to you; afterwards we share the proceeds 50/50.

    You may not know this but people like me who have made tidy sums out of comparable situations run the whole private banking sector, I am not a criminal and what I do, I do not find against good conscience, this may be hard for you to understand, but the dynamics of my industry dictates that I make this move. Such opportunities only come ones' way once in a lifetime. I cannot let this chance pass me by and I hope you understand, because for once I found myself in total control and face to face with my destiny. These chances won't pass me by, I ask that you do not destroy my chance, if you will not work with me please let me know, and hence move on with my life, but do not destroy me; I am a family Man and this is an occasion to provide them with new opportunities. There is a reward for this project and it is a task well worth undertaking, I have evaluated the risks and the only risk I have here is from you refusing to work with me and alerting my bank; I am the only one who knows of this situation, good fortune will bless you and plant you into the center of relevance in my life, let’s share the blessing.

    Please, again, note I am a family Man; I am happily married with kids, I send you this mail not without a measure of fear as to what the consequences might be, but I know within me that nothing ventured is nothing gained and that success and riches never come easy or on a platter of gold, this is the one truth I have learned from my private banking clients; do not betray my confidence. If we can be of one accord I shall have the pleasure of meeting you, after this task has been completed plan a meeting.

    In a nut shell without playing around with words, What i want from you is that i present you as the Next of Kin and sole beneficiary to the $85 Million at the finance house where the funds are presently deposited.

    I await your response.

    Yours Sincerely,
    Mr Paul Tan Wong

  • On Thursday, April 30, 2015, arab bohara wrote:

    i have got such email scam
    Hello My dear,

    How is you health and work, hope all is in Good Condition as i am not much feeling alright..I am just here on my sick bed waiting for my time to come.. i must let you know that i have given the all faith to almighty God.Its almost more than five months now that i have been dreaming over the God sent soul that will help me and now i am very sure you are the God sent to me in helping me accomplish this great mission,as i have said before i have just limited time to spent on this earth this is the reason why i have chosen you top help me claim this fund of the bank and use it for the said purpose.

    I want you to know that i have limited time to leave on this planet and i don't want to see my fund lying down there and shared among the top officials or mapped out for the development of the country,this is the reason why i have chosen you ,i have tried  my  best to make Richard my Husband younger brother do this for me but all hope seems to be lost Richards is just after the money.As i have to let you know that i cant make any calls here all just because of my health,cause if i do my doctor will be angry with me..please my dear i will like you to please tell me more about yourself and your family and also please send me some pics of you.my dear,i have done all possible best to make Richards my Husband younger brother do this for me but all hope seems to be lost Richards is just after my life.

    Please let me know your faith towards this so we can proceed and let me know if i can trust you Okay ?..Please tell me more about yourself and also send me some of your pics as soon as possible Now ..Thanks a lot for your responds...so i will want you to know that am going to send you a letter which you are going to send to the bank to apply for the release of my fund to your domited account in your country.....hope to hear from you soon..MAY THE LORD BE WITH YOU


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