Internet Scams to Watch Out For: The Dead Relative You’ve Never Heard Of
One of the classic Internet scams relies on the fact that modern families are often scattered across the globe. You could have a cousin living thousands of miles away that you’ve never even heard of.
Until a kindly stranger emails to inform you of their death and to notify you that all the news is not bad. You see, this long-lost relative was loaded. And they’re leaving all their money to you!
The person who’s contacted you is acting as the dead cousin’s lawyer, and there are a few details to work out before the estate is settled and you receive your windfall. You’ll need to pay them for their hard work in processing the will and tracking you down. Since they’re in another country, there might be some taxes to be paid upfront before the money can be transferred to your account. And there are always other fees. Legalities can be expensive.
Especially when they’re a fraud and there is no dead relative.
The cyber criminal posing as the lawyer will keep coming up with new reasons money has to be fronted until you have no more. At which point, they’ll disappear back into the dark side of the web in search of their next victim.
What to do: Ignore the email. Even supposing you had a long-lost dead relative, any lawyer trying to settle their estate would contact you through official channels such as registered mail, identifying their firm and you by name.