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Inheritance Scams

If you receive a notification in the mail from an estate locator informing you of an unclaimed inheritance, beware. Scammers will tell you that your supposed inheritance is difficult to access due to government regulations, taxes or bank restrictions, and that you will need to pay money and provide personal details to claim it. You may even be introduced to a second or third scammer­­­—posing as a banker, lawyer, or tax agent—to “help facilitate the legal and financial aspects of the transaction.” In the rare instance when someone does have the right to claim the funds, the amount may be worth less than the fee you must pay to the promoter.

Life Savings Lost (Inheritance Scam)

A man lost his life savings after he was contacted about claiming an inheritance. Watch to learn more.

Broken Trust (Inheritance Scam)

A scammer takes advantage of friends and neighbors, asking for loans to pay for taxes and fees associated with an inheritance. Watch to learn more.

Protect Yourself From Inheritance Scams

  • Be wary of fees

    Legitimate law firms or executors of wills do not request you to pay a fee to find out about your share of an estate.

  • Check where your money is going

    Before you send any money, checks, or credit card numbers, be sure you know where it’s actually going.

  • Discuss with friends first

    Check with friends, relatives, and other sources before sending funds in response to an inheritance solicitation.

Have You Witnessed This Scam?

If you’ve encountered a phony inheritance scam or inheritance theft, and the U.S. Mail® has been used in any way, we want to help. Please report the crime.

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