Michael Ford (post until Oct. 31/19)
Estates & Wills & Trusts

Beware ‘too good to be true’ windfall inheritance emails

Charles Ticker

While it is always possible to receive a windfall inheritance, if it sounds too good to be true - it probably is, says Toronto-area estate lawyer Charles Ticker.

In a recent case, a woman in the Peterborough area believed she was going to collect a $12 million offshore inheritance after responding to a random email. Instead, say police, she was conned out of $217,000 in “fees.”

Read Toronto Star story

Ticker explains that he is also aware of other scams where an email is sent by 'some lawyer', advising that the recipient has inherited millions of dollars and asking for contact information.

In his own practice for example, Ticker says he recently received a phone call from a young woman who explained that she had received an email from a solicitor in England, advising that she had inherited millions.

“Fortunately, she called me before replying because she was going to provide the sender of the email with all her personal contact info and possibly bank account for the transfer. She would have been a victim of fraud and identity theft,” he says.

“I asked her for the name of the "law firm" that sent the email and when we did a search online, there was no such law firm,” he adds.

Ticker says he has also received several of these emails personally. Usually, he explains, the emails are written in poor English with lots of typos and grammatical errors, so are obviously spam.

“I would think that a letter of that importance would arrive on letterhead and not by email,” he says.

Recipients of inheritance-related correspondence should always check to make sure they are dealing with a legitimate law firm and may also want to contact the local law society or organization to confirm the author's status, he explains.




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