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.

Top money pile

Just received my windfall for Christmas, 45% of 57 million USD, post the demise of an oil magnate. All I have to do is confirm acceptance of proposal to Mr Ken Iiyama who is working with the Master Trust Bank of Japan. As soon as I find my banana boat I'll be in touch.

In reply to by Bob Stringpuller (not verified)

'Mr Ken Iiyama' oil magnate scam

I can confirm I received this poorly drafted (likely Lagos originated) letter which claims my oil magnate relative died in the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami.

Mr Ken Iiyama' oil magnate scam

Same scam... quite laughable!

Inheritance letter

Just got one in the post from Mr Adrian Perez, head Auditor for Citi group Inc, Texas, dated !4th November 2019, no American post marks, just English!! Based here then??? Bit put out, mine was only 7,600,000 dollars!

In reply to by Ginge (not verified)


My wife just got one of these. Exact same amount. Very poorly written for a "professional" person supposedly working where he claims.

In reply to by Ginge (not verified)

Citi group Inc ??? Scam

Just received exact same from Mr Adrian Perez head auditor of the above .
Who does the dozy bastard think he is going to fool with this rubbish.just take it to the fraud squad,perhaps they can work out a sting !!

inheritance letter

Received similar letter today from Mr. Albert Rispoli, equity trust head auditor in Citi Group Inc. Texas USA. Dutifly ignored!!

In reply to by charlie b (not verified)


Same here!

In reply to by charlie b (not verified)


I’ve just the same letter , nasty piece of work

Inheritance text

HI, I received a text today saying they have £25m inheritance fund for me with email and mobile phone no. Who should I report this to?

Alberto Rispoli Citi Group Inc

Recieved a letter today clearly complete scam... someone who died in 2008 in texas who left just under 6 mill and i am next of kin... NOT! Now only thing that stands out to me is my name is spelled wrongly... the same as me EE contact :/ are they selling information??? Scary thing is how many people are going to fall for this scam!!!!!

Elderly Relative

This was sent to my Elderly Aunt disgusting !! How they can get so much information !!

Mr Rispoli

My sister has just received the same letter from Mr Rispoli. Has anyone reported this to the authorities?

citi group inc texas scam

I received the same letter for a person who died in 2008 with the same Surname as mine, leaving 7,600,000 UK dollars, claiming there was no heir but I could inherit 40% since I share the same last name. Looked like a scam because there was no company header/footer and it was asking me to keep the information absolutely private and provide my phone and fax no. It all looked very homemade.claiming there was no heir but I could inherit 40% since I share the same last name. Looked like a scam because the letter was dated for 3 weeks after I received it plus there was no company header/footer. It all looked very homemade.
I have completely ignored it.

Inheritance letter

Just received a similar letter today from Mr Andrew Samuelson of Citi Group Equity Inc. Texas asking me to stand as N of K to person of same surname who died in 2008 as no N of K can be traced, fun reading 😂😂😂 I educated enough not to fall for such scams, shame that some people would fall for it though....

Ji Ying scam Letter

I also received a letter today, 22nd Feb from a Mr Ji Ying informing me that Mr David Cross had died in the Boxing Day Tsunami of 2004. An account has been discovered for $47.500,240, with similar wording to previous posts on this site.. This information is confidential and could I partner with Mr Ying and stand in as the next of kin. He will be behind the scene to guide me on how to apply for the release of the funds. I will be required to set up a new account and for my trouble will receive 45% of the fund after the transaction.

Scan Letter

Hi I just received a letter from a Mr Ji Ying, and I have exactly the same amount as you. wow I am going to be a millionaire , Lol


New guy on the scam boat, Mr Adrian Peters of Citi group Texas, he wants to make me a $millionair , as he posted my letter via Royal Mail you would
think he would call round with the loot.

Another Citi Group inc scam letter

Clearly this person / group hasn't given up yet. I received a letter today, dated 23rd Feb. 2020, posted in the UK but purporting to come from Mr Adrian Peters, Head Auditor of Citi Group Inc. in Texas and looking for someone with a 'safe account overseas' to 'stand in as the next of kin' for someone who died in 2008 who shares my surname. This time the estate is a modest 7.6 million US dollars but 'Mr Peters' is getting greedy - he's only offering me 40%. You have to hope the appropriate authorities are looking at these scams, as someone somewhere may be foolish enough to get caught out. Does Moneywise have any advice regarding the passing of information to the Police / FCA?

Ji Ying scam

I have just received a letter 09/03/2020 from a Mr Ji Ying informing me that I have $47,500,240 waiting from an oil magnate who has died with the same surname. A lot of these going around

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