Police issue warning over letter 'scam'

HOUSEHOLDERS in Suffolk are being warned by police not to give out personal information - particularly bank details or passwords - after a man received a letter that claimed to offer him a vast inheritance.

HOUSEHOLDERS in Suffolk are being warned by police not to give out personal information - particularly bank details or passwords - after a man received a letter that claimed to offer him a vast inheritance.

The letter, which was said to be from a man working for a private bank in China, offered the recipient the opportunity to become the beneficiary of substantial funds following the death of a person with the same surname.

But police said the letter is almost certainly a scam and, although it does not ask for bank details at this stage, they suspect they will later be asked for if the recipient makes contact with the sender. People targeted by such letters are often asked to pay sums of between �500 and �11,000 for administration costs, legal fees, banking charges and money transfers.

A similar letter - thought to be a variation on the 'Nigerian' letter scam - has been reported in other areas including Manchester.


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Police say these scams usually target the elderly and vulnerable but it is possible anyone could be on the receiving end.

They may come through the post, over the phone or in an email but they are all designed with the same end in mind - to separate the people from their money.

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Det Sgt Allan Forbes, of Suffolk police's economic crime unit, said: 'We urge people to be on their guard for letters and scams such as these. Some correspondence will of course be genuine but exercising common sense and being vigilant by checking people's authenticity can prevent offences and substantial financial loss to victims.

'Even after checking identity, you should not give out any personal information unless you are happy to do so.

'If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is and caution should be exercised over greed.'

If you believe you have been the victim of fraud, contact Suffolk Police on 01473 613500. If you have received a similar scam, or something you suspect to be a scam, contact Consumer Direct on 08454 04 05 06 or visit www.consumerdirect.gov.uk.

For more information on scams and how to avoid them visit www.moneywise.co.uk

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