Fraudsters use 'snail-mail' for inheritance scam
Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre says 123 people gave more than $1M to scams last year
Scam artists are still among those who like to correspond the old-fashioned way and are using the mail system to prey on victims.
In Sudbury, people have been receiving what looks like any other business letter: a white envelope with a proper stamp and their address.
OPP Sergeant Christine Rae said the correspondence is designed to inspire trust.
"When you get the letter, it looks very official," she said.
"Unfortunately, that's what they're doing. They're luring people into giving them what they want. So people really need to use caution."
The letter details to potential victims that they may have a long-lost relative who has died and left them a vast amount of money — and includes contact numbers, addresses and e-mails.
For those who choose to get in touch with the sender, they’re then asked to send money to claim their inheritance.
The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre in North Bay reports 15 people from Sudbury have received these types of letters in the last 1.5 years.
No typical victim
But spokesperson Daniel Williams said he doesn't know of anyone in Sudbury who has been a victim — although there may be people who fell for it and are embarrassed to report it.
"We know that we're lucky to get between one to five per cent of people who have actually lost money to report to any type of police agency — including the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre," he said.
"So the damage is much greater than we actually get to see."
Williams said there is no typical victim — but the common denominator among them is they want to believe the pot of gold is real.
As for the bad guys, Williams said scammers might be able to send more letters electronically, but snail mail is still effective.
"One hit on the keyboard and you can send the same letter, basically, to a million people at a time," he said.
"But with the inheritance letter, it's still very commonly received by mail and, as long as the bad guys make money doing so, they're not going to stop."
In Canada last year, a total of 123 people fell for the scam and lost more than a $1 million.