Watch out for this inheritance scam

9 April 2009

Perhaps it’s a result of the credit crunch, but no less than four Moneywise readers have been contacted by fraudsters in recent months, all peddling the same old scam. It’s a well-worn bit of trickery but it’s cheap to operate, so it could be that even crooks are having to watch their pennies nowadays.

Jane from North Yorkshire received a letter from David Johnson Jr, supposedly a lawyer in Spain. He wrote: “I am contacting you in regards to a deceased client who died in an auto accident in Madrid in March 2005. He happens to share the same last name with you.”

According to Johnson, the dead man left US$22 million and no known relatives, so if Jane poses as his next of kin, Johnson will do the necessary paperwork and they can split the cash 50/50.

But, by a curious coincidence, Mr S from Bicester has received a virtually identical letter, this time from a David Thomson Jr. He also claims to be a Spanish lawyer – and he also lost a client in a car crash in March 2005. And guess what? His client also left US $22 million and no known relatives, but this time he had the same surname as Mr S, who is also offered half the loot if he poses as the next of kin.

Mr S doesn’t have a particularly common surname, but it must be an unlucky one. As well as news of a dead ‘relative’ in Spain, he has also received a letter from Chi-Sing Cheung, who says he is a manager with the Industrial Bank of China, informing Mr S of the death of yet another namesake in a fatal accident in mainland China. Cheung says his Mr S left an unclaimed US $8 million – and he makes the same 50/50 offer.

Annette in Worcestershire has been more fortunate. No namesakes are dead, but she has received an odd email from Thomas James Jr, who claims to be a barrister in Benin in Africa.

He thanks her for her advice concerning the transfer of a huge sum of money out of Benin – advice that she never gave, of course – and says he has deposited a bank cashier’s cheque for US $950,000 with a courier company. If she contacts the company, the cheque is hers.

The fourth Moneywise reader is me. I’ve been contacted by the exotically named Humber Vanbeeks, who gives a British mobile phone number and claims to be “the attorney of late millionaire mogul Mr Daniel Blackett, who was assassinated by unknown assailants in his UK residence four years ago”.

According to Vanbeeks, his client deposited millions of pounds to build an estate to house orphans and drug addicts. Leaving aside this illogical mix of beneficiaries, Vanbeeks says his client’s family cannot be traced, so why don’t I step into their shoes?

In fact, a businessman named Daniel Blackett was killed in Surrey in 2004. But it took just a few minutes to find that he left a mother, a grandmother, a partner and three children. Perhaps I should put them in touch with Humber Vanbeeks.

Of course, all these approaches are completely bogus. There is no pot of gold – there’s not even a rainbow. Anyone who replies will slowly be milked for as much money as they can be persuaded to hand over. It will start with a small sum for courier’s charges or to pay some bill the deceased overlooked; then there will be legal fees; then taxes; and then a bribe to ensure someone does not block the whole deal.

Some folk have a lot of fun with fraudsters like this – they reply, asking meaningless questions, raising fictitious problems, and even offering to marry the crook so the money will not have to be split up. This is amusing as long as you stay safe, but the safest thing of all is to simply ignore them.

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Just received the Delgardo letter today 14/06/2019

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

14th June I received a letter today from a Mr Ronald Delago from'Citi Group saying that a Mr J B Beaumont-Nesbitt had died leaving no will but a fortune in a 'floating account'. The same letter received by many people. I happen to know that Mr J B Beaumont-Nesbitt never existed, the name is very select!!! but just to warn other people of the scam. It sounds convincing.

Delgado scam letter

Just received letter from this person saying I am due an inheritance.
$5,600,000 seems very familiar. Have filed in WPB today. It is clearly a photocopy and many others have probably received this note too

Next of kin

I received a letter from Barr Edward Rees an Attorney for the late Robert Fitzpatrick who lost his life in a plane crash in 1999,it goes on to say after making a lot of enquiries no next of kin could be found,and no will was made.
He proposes that with my permission he would do all the paperwork to put me forward as next of kin,
He says that its all legal and he would get 50% I would get 40% and 10% would be for any expenses, the amount is $11 Million
This I believe is a scam be aware

Next of Kin

My parents recieved a letter too dated July 27th, 19 from Mr. Ronald Delgado who works for Citi Group Inc. Texas. USA. He seems to use the same initials for the deceased (J.B.) and then parents surname. Letter is not typed on headed paper, nor does it bear a watermark. Parents address does not included United Kingdom and the envelope has postage ref: HQ4833. I wish that these scumbags would get a proper job and stop profitting from vunerable people.

Next of kin again

I've also received the same letter, and am disappointed that the sum involved is 5,600,000 which is exactly the same as everyone else.

Ronald Delgado

Received a very generous offer today from Mr Ronald Delgado to transfer $5,600,000 into my bank account.Seems like he’s now going through the ‘Ls’ in the phone book!!!!beware all you Ls.

Inheritance scam

Same letter $560000, but dated !st August 2019

Mr Ronald Delgado

Mr Delgado has been a busy man.I received a similar letter dated 1st Aug 19 . For a split second I wanted it to be true not many Lisoweckyj,s about.

Mr Ronald Delgado

The same letter came to me from Mr Ronald Delgado, same initials, dates, sum, etc. I am glad I googled and got your page up at the top of the google search. Thank you- I also found it a tiny bit plausible- for a second or so.


Yes. I also had a letter from Ronald Delago today!

Ronald Delgado at it again!

Hi! Received the exact same letter mr Delgado has been busy! Hilarious home made scam letter made me laugh after a long days work. Threw it in the bin but don’t like that these people have my address so easily.


It’s surprising how long these things run! I received an identical ‘Ronald Delgado of Citi Bank Texas’ letter this morning - 19 September 2019. I intend to ignore the suggestions in it but does anyone know who could possibly investigate and backtrack to the sender? Is there an authoritative body who deals with this type of scam?


I got mine today - same amount of money, same 40% deal.

Bogus inheritance claim

The same letter supposedly from Ronald Delgado was sent to my mother We've just lost my dad to cancer so this was particularly upsetting for her. It was addressed to my mother using her first initial and her surname, surely if it was my father's heir it should have been addressed using my father's initials and surname? Shameful!!

Mr. Delgado Inheritance Scam

My husband got his today..same amount..same 40% deal. I wonder how many people are 'taken in' by these scammer? I do like to 'string' these people along ,just on the phone scammers though...24 minutes is my record. (I do have a lot of time on my hands some days!). Won't be bothering with Mr. Delgado though!!


Yep, Ronald's a busy busy chap. Got my letter today - never heard of Mr J.B. Naylor, and strange someone in his purported position thinks it necessary to defraud Citigroup or invite a complete stranger to help him do so.
On a serious note, if someone has your name, address, and then asks for your e-mail address and phone number, sounds like they might then be able to steel your identity ??

Just received letter from Ronald Delgado Head Auditor City Group

I received identical letter as other people that possible family member died and left account with $5,600,000 . Asking to contacting him and open account for transfer. Letter dated 19th September 2019.
Postage paid GB HQ66292

Ronald delgado

Hi just recieved a letter this morning how do you report it


I have received a letter from Ronald Delgado supposedly in Texas offering me 40% of $5,600,000 but he made a fundamental mistake the letter was posted in the UK.

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