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Scam Watch

January 13, 2008

The pitch: The State Department has verified that you are due an inheritance!

The scam: The e-mail looks as if it comes from the State Department and includes official regulatory information concerning inheritances from foreign countries. There's no need to contact other government officials, the e-mail says. The only requirement is the payment of fees to cover currency conversion and taxes.

The reality: The State Department has issued an alert about these scam e-mails, warning that it never makes unsolicited contact with individuals concerning matters such as inheritances. The request to not contact other officials is cropping up increasingly in online frauds. Another scam e-mail making the rounds, supposedly from the Bank of England, also promises a large payment and warns: "You are hereby adviced to stop further communication with the so-called government officials." Yeah, because they might point out the spelling errors.

Info: The State Department warning is at www.ic3.gov/media/2007/071214.htm.

An agency brochure on inheritance and other scams is at travel.state.gov/pdf/international_financial_scams_brochure.pdf.

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