The following article is from The Record.
Woman loses $140,000 in e-mail scam
Cambridge victim's fraud loss is largest ever in Waterloo Region
WATERLOO REGION (May 10, 2005)
A Cambridge woman was swindled out of $140,000 after being told by e-mail that a long-lost relative had left her a fortune.
Thisis the largest financial loss ever reported by an individual fraudvictim in the region, Staff Sgt. Wally Hogg, head of the Waterlooregional police fraud branch, said yesterday.
The scam is a twist on the Nigerian advance-fee fraud, Hogg said.
"This is the first time that I have heard of it," he said of the inheritance scam.
Earlyin January, a person claiming to be a lawyer e-mailed the Cambridgewoman about an inheritance worth millions of dollars from a relative inEngland, Hogg said.
The woman, who is in her 50s, doesn't haveany relatives living in England. But the person who allegedly left herthe fortune was someone who lived several generations ago, the officersaid.
The victim was told to pay certain transfer fees and taxesto get the money. She made several payments to overseas accounts, butdidn't receive any inheritance.
When she ran out of money, forgedbank drafts were sent to her, which she deposited into an account. Thewoman was then told to wire matching amounts of money to overseas bankaccounts.
Police were alerted after a bank official became suspicious, Hogg said.
"Ifpeople are soliciting you, be very careful," said the officer, addingthat police should be contacted about any suspicious solicitations.
Waterloo regional police say the Nigerian advance-fee fraud works in the following way:
Thevictim receives an unsolicited e-mail, fax or letter requestingassistance in advancing a large sum of money to an overseas bankaccount. The scam artists usually represent themselves as corporateexecutives or bank or government officials from Nigeria or another WestAfrican country.
The victim is promised a significant percentageof funds for their assistance but must first disclose personalinformation such as telephone number, address and bank-accountparticulars to receive the money.
The victim is then asked to payan "advanced fee," a sum of money up front to cover the cost oftransferring money into their account. Once an initial payment is made,additional money is requested.
Police offer the following tips to avoid being a victim of such scams:
Ignore unsolicited letters requesting money.
Never commit to these scams or forward money.
Never disclose personal information, such as bank account numbers. The information could be used to commit additional frauds.
Report such scams to police.