Police are advising the public to remain vigilant following a bogus inheritance letter that is being circulated by fraudsters.
A resident in Bakewell received a fraudulent inheritance letter from overseas stating that a large amount of money had been left in their name from a deceased client.
Derbyshire Constabulary said these types of letters are known as advance fee frauds where the offender targets a victim to make and advance or upfront payment for goods or financial gain and these do not materialise.
Det Con Julie Wheeldon from the East Midlands Fraud and Financial Investigation Unit said: “There are legitimate companies who make a living by tracking down heirs but this isn’t how they go about it.
“If you’re asked to pay various fees to release your non-existent inheritance, it is very likely to be bogus so do not to hand over your bank details and stop any contact with the fraudsters.
“Thankfully there are certain steps that you can take to protect yourself from becoming a victim of this type of fraud such as looking out for the traits of the letter including poor grammar and spelling mistakes.
“Just remember, if something sounds too good to be true then it is more than likely to be bogus so always seek advice if you are unsure.
“If you’re victim of inheritance fraud always report it to Action Fraud and speak to your bank immediately if you think you have jeopardised your account details.”
Police have offered a number of tips that you can follow to protect yourself from becoming a victim of advance fee fraud.
These include: Look out for badly written communication, spelling mistakes and poor grammar; Look out for email addresses such as @Yahoo or @Hotmail. As a rule, legitimate companies do use these; The fraudsters often discuss a level of secrecy so be aware and always seek advice if you are unsure; Remember, a legitimate firm is highly unlikely to pay out inheritance to someone who isn’t entitled to it; and Remember, fraudsters often claim that the person who has died was the victim of a well-publicised incident, such as a plane crash.
For more information contact police on 101, the non-emergency number for Derbyshire police.
If you think that you have been a victim of advance fee fraud, call police on 101 or Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.