It’s another example that if it sounds too good to be true, it likely is.
South Delta resident and IT professional Chuck Hamilton contacted the Optimist recently with a story of scam artists seeking personal information for identity theft.
Hamilton said his in-laws, who live in Tsawwassen, stopped by with a letter they had received soliciting personal information, with the lure of an outstanding inheritance opportunity.
“While the letter is designed to look plausible, it is clearly a scam, though more sophisticated than some,” said Hamilton. “This scam cites some real names. For example, an accountant named Mike Harris, who does exist, as well as the name of a real person sharing the family surname are used. This alignment is done to add legitimacy to the claim, should anyone dig deeper.”
Hamilton did take a deeper dive and found out some more alarming information.
“We were just working with a company on some mortgage issues with my parents and the timing of this letter was incredibly suspicious because they received this phishing attempt exactly at a time when they had come into some money through this reverse mortgage process, so that further made it suspicious for me,” he said.
“I see similar cyber scams online regularly but I was not aware of similar attempts to extort individuals by direct mail. The perpetrators know that our parents are vulnerable seniors and likely not using conventional email systems and online services, thus use the regular mail system. Using this mail system is a lot more brazen than I have seen in the past.”
Hamilton said for the less suspicious people in the world, the information in the letter could lead people down a dangerous path.
“There are so many seniors in Tsawwassen, so I think it’s just another good message to get out to people,” he said. “There are people out there who will try many different tricks and will try almost anything to try and get to you.”
He said he will be reporting the incident to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre as well as contacting their mortgage company to see if any of their personal information may have been compromised.