The States of Jersey Police have issued a warning about letter scams that have been circulating in Jersey, with the advice to put the letter straight in the bin so as to avoid becoming the victim of fraud.
Dozens of letters, most claiming to be from the Bank of China or the Bank of Japan, have been handed to police who are linking with UK forces to investigate the source of the scam.
The letters have UK stamps on the envelopes, with named recipients on the delivery address and claim to be from an employee of a Japanese or Chinese bank dealing with a bank account of a deceased UK national who has the same surname as the recipient. The letter advises that the deceased person left no will, and offers the recipient the opportunity to be a beneficiary of the bank account, which is usually stated to be around US $9,000,000 dollars.
The potential scam victim is asked to contact the bank using phone or email details given in the letter and they will be asked for their personal details and also to allow access to their bank account, so that their share of the money can be transferred by the bank directly into their account.
Detective Inspector Lee Turner said: "Such is the variety of scams, both online and via other unwanted contact, it is often difficult to give specific advice to cover every eventuality. But, there is a clear general message: if it appears ˜too good to be true' it probably is.
"When any contact is unexpected, or requests specific personal information, then we would urge people to always err on the side of caution and conduct further checks before responding and, particularly, before providing any personal information as it is highly unlikely that legitimate requests would be seeking information by such means.
"Unfortunately, there are unscrupulous people who are all too willing to exploit others, and we would urge everyone to be extremely cautious before replying to any such approaches, and certainly before signing up to anything, providing information or sending money to anyone, unless they are absolutely certain they know who they are dealing with.
Advice on personal security and scams is available via the Crime Reduction officer at Police Headquarters on 612345.
There is also a UK agency that collates all email and correspondence scams. Recipients of any similar scam should copy the correspondence to www.actionfraud.org.uk
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