Scammers are targeting Shetland residents with phoney letters dangling the prospect of an inheritance from a long-lost relative whose funds have been deposited in China.
The letters say that the late relative instructed his money to be put into a “specialist bank”, in which the money sits unclaimed.
The writer urges the recipient of the letter to get in touch by email to make sure they get some money, which otherwise will fall into the hands of the government.
SIC trading standards chief David Marsh warned people not to respond. He said: “It has all the hallmarks of a scam and it’s too good to be true. It tries to get people to hand over an administration fee which they’ll never see again.”
He urged people to bin the letters and added: “More than a dozen different versions of the same letter have been reported to us between yesterday and today. Each tells an identical story, but uses a different surname for a person called Charles who is said to have died in China leaving a large unclaimed fortune. There are also several different first names used for the sender.
“We have contacted Microsoft, who have closed down the email address being used so that nobody can now reply to one of these letters if they were unfortunate enough to be taken in by the story.”
Citizens Advice say the scam has been around for some years and warn that people should not be taken in.