Important Member Alert: Letters Arriving in Ocean County are Ripoffs

alert-resized-600Forget it, scammer.

We don’t have an unknown relative who died 10 years ago and left $9.2 million unclaimed. And we’re not going to email you back to get more information, either. The letter you sent is going right in the trash. Thanks!

The Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office is warning residents of a new bunch of scam letters that are hitting mailboxes. It uses the name of TD Canada along with the TD bank logo to entice people to keep reading.

It’s a version of a classic Nigerian scam in which the fraudsters seeks help moving a vast sum of money. All you need to do is pay some fees or taxes and you’ll get a cut or reward. Don’t do it.

‘Easy money’

“It’s again, the lure of easy money. That’s it,” said Al Della Fave, a spokesman for the Ocean County prosecutor. The prosecutor’s office has received several reports about the letter in the last week.

Former Toms River Mayor Paul C. Brush got a copy and sent it to authorities. “It is an epidemic in this country,” Brush said of scams. “When I saw this letter and how authentic it looked, I decided to send it” to Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph D. Coronato.

The scammer claimed to be from TD Canada and the letter had TD Bank’s green logo, Brush said. But the return address on the envelope was Costco Wholesale.

Fraudsters use symbols of legitimate companies, downloaded off the Internet, to create fake papers. Afterward, they are emailed or mailed as part of a scam to steal personal information or money, the prosecutor’s office said.

The letter told Brush that he had a previously unknown relative by the name of Joe Brush who lived in England. (The letter did strike a chord as Brush’s family background included relatives in England hundreds of years ago.)

“Nevertheless I have contacted you with genuine intentions and I hope I can trust you with this inheritance opportunity which I will explain below,” states the letter from a “Mr. Peter Andrew Timo.”

Next of kin

It turns out a relative died and he found Brush’s address and name in a search for a next of kin. He couldn’t locate other relatives. “Since he is from your country and you both share the same last name, it easy (sic) for you to become his official next of kin,” the letter states. Joe Brush left an account worth $9.2 million, the letter added.

Brush didn’t take it seriously. “It was such an outrageous amount of money that I knew it wasn’t right,” he said.

This guy offered to help Brush list himself as an “extended relative” while he propped up his claim “from the inside.”

“I assure you that this transaction would be handled under due inheritance procedures and every necessary legitimate arrangement will be put in place to make you the real beneficiary of the inheritance funds,” the letter states. It asked that the matter remain confidential until the money is received. (That’s a “huge red flag,” the prosecutor’s office said.)

“Once the funds are released to you, it will be shared between the two of us,” the letter said.

The letter encouraged Brush to send an email to a Gmail address for more information. But he sent it to authorities instead.

“It’s a total ridiculous scam,” Della Fave said.

As always, First Financial continues to monitor our member accounts for suspicious activity. If you have any additional questions or concerns, please give us a call at 866.750.0100 or email us at info@firstffcu.com

Be sure to enroll in our newest, upgraded Identity Theft Protection Program from Sherpa – don’t wait until it’s too late! The best part? You can enroll right online, 24/7. You can trust in First Financial and Sherpa to help keep your personal information protected. Packages begin at just $5.99 per month – click here to enroll today!

*Original article source courtesy of David P. Willis of the Asbury Park Press.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s