If you receive an email, or notification via regular mail, from an ‘estate locator’ claiming that there may be an unclaimed inheritance to which you are entitled then don’t get excited too quickly.
Sure, there are times when someone dies and leaves a sum of money to people who didn’t know them, or didn’t expect to inherit anything from them, but that tends to be the exception rather than the rule.
So, if you do receive such a notification from an ‘estate locator’ suggesting that you have an inheritance due then remember that if something sounds too good to be true it typically is.
THE INHERITANCE CON
Con artists will adopt any scheme that they think will part a fool from his money.
They will tell you that you are due an inheritance and that they have found you by undertaking extensive research.
Don’t feel flattered that they have found you though – inheritance scammers bulk mail the same message to hundreds, or even thousands, of people at the same time, hoping that one or two may reply.
Those people who do reply are then enticed into a classic advanced fee scam, being told that they need to pay for various expenses before they can claim their inheritance.
Such fees can include estate reports, legal costs and processing fees.
Needless to say, this money disappears without a trace and no inheritance is ever forthcoming.
Keeping yourself safe from inheritance scams is relatively easy and just requires some commonsense.
If you receive mail from an ‘estate locator’ then check sources other than the ones they quote to you, such as relatives and obituaries.
Additionally, business services such as the BBB and the AG’s office could tell you if you are being approached by an individual or company that has been investigated in connection with inheritance scams.
Remember too that legitimate law firms and executors of wills will never require you to pay a fee in order to determine whether you are entitled to an inheritance or not.
If you have been unfortunate enough to become a victim of such a scheme then report it to the authorities so that others do not have to experience the same fate.