SWEETWATER COUNTY – While most scams today involve emails, texts, or telephone calls, some international swindlers prefer old-fashioned conventional mail, the Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Office warned the public on Friday.
According to a Sweetwater County Sheriff’s release:
A Rock Springs man recently reported his receipt of a letter postmarked Barcelona, Spain – purportedly from an attorney in the city of Santiago de Compostela – informing him of the death of a putative relative who left behind an estate of over $10 million, but had no will. In the letter, the “attorney” offers to help the individual to claim his dead relative’s estate in return for a 50/50 split of the proceeds.
When a prospective victim contacts the “attorney” to put things in motion, the swindle begins. Funds – hundreds or even thousands of dollars – are requested for fees, taxes, or transfer charges, all of which are fraudulent. When victims stop sending money or begin demanding answers, they never hear from the “attorney” again.
Though such letters have most recently been sent from Spain, in fact they are often posted from a wide range of countries.
“This particular scheme and others similar to it are usually described as ‘Advance Fee Frauds’ or ‘Nigerian Scams’ because so many of these letters began appearing from Nigeria years ago,” said Detective Dick Blust, the Sheriff’s Office public information officer. “People often scoff and wonder how someone could ever fall for such a scam, but the fact is that many millions have been lost over the years.”
Shown here, with the Rock Springs man’s name redacted, are the envelope and excerpt from the letter.
For more information on this scam (and many others), the Sheriff’s Office recommends the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s website at www.fbi.gov/scams-safety/fraud .