The Windsor Detachment of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) are warning residents of an old scam that has come back with a new spin. The “Letter Scam” is back in full force in the Windsor area with thieves using technology to their advantage.

A victim who resides in Essex County reported that they were recently defrauded of approximately $500,000.00.  The victim reported that they had received a letter from a purported lawyer in Spain, who advised that a distant relative had recently passed away leaving a sizable estate that was presently unclaimed.  The deceased in the letter possessed the same last name as the victim and although they were unaware of any distant relative in Spain, they contacted the author of the letter and initiated negotiations for release of the funds.

The victim was directed, at first, to send small amounts of money to the lawyer in Spain in order to pay for back taxes and other fees blocking release of the estate. The victim was drawn into the scheme and soon began sending substantial funds to an overseas bank account.

The victim reported that during the course of the negotiations for release of the estate, they received a call from an individual identifying themselves as a RCMP officer.  This individual advised that the victim was not being scammed and that enquiries revealed their situation to be legitimate.  The telephone number on the victim’s call display has been confirmed as the RCMP general enquiries telephone number in Ottawa.  The investigation undertaken by the RCMP in Windsor has determined that this call was not made by the RCMP, but in all likelihood, a co-conspirator using a technique known as “spoofing” to reveal the RCMP telephone number and create the illusion of legitimacy.

It is a tough lesson for anyone to learn, especially when someone is stealing your hard earned cash. A word to the wise, any contact from a person or organization you do not personally know that asks for a small amount of money in exchange for a promised larger sum is almost always a scam!

If you have received a similar letter or know of someone who has, please contact your local police or if you are a victim or know a victim of this particular scam, please communicate this information to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) at 1-888-495-8501.




SOURCE: Royal Canadian Mounted Police

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