Inheritance scams are a type of fraud where scammers target individuals who are expecting an inheritance, often from a distant or unknown relative, and trick them into paying fees or providing personal information in order to receive the inheritance. The scammer may claim to be an attorney or representative of the deceased person's estate, and may provide fake documents or other convincing evidence to support their claims.
Here are ten steps you can take to prevent inheritance scams:
- Be wary of unsolicited emails or letters that claim you are entitled to an inheritance from a distant or unknown relative, especially if the offer seems too good to be true.
- Verify the identity of the person or organization contacting you, and independently confirm any information they provide about the deceased person's estate or the inheritance.
- Be cautious of anyone who asks you to pay fees or provide personal information in order to claim the inheritance, especially if they request payment via wire transfer or prepaid debit card.
- Check the official website of your state's attorney general or consumer protection agency for information about inheritance scams and how to report them.
- Consult with a trusted attorney or financial advisor before making any payments or providing personal information related to an inheritance.
- Never give out your Social Security number, bank account information, or other sensitive information to someone you don't know or trust.
- Be wary of anyone who pressures you to act quickly or keep the inheritance a secret, as this is a common tactic used by scammers.
- Don't be fooled by fake or misleading websites or social media profiles that claim to be affiliated with the deceased person or their estate.
- Keep in mind that legitimate inheritances typically go through a lengthy legal process and involve multiple parties, including attorneys, executors, and trustees.