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I was very much surprised to find a letter with a Canadian postal indicia and no return address in yesterday's mail...

But I was shocked that someone made a significant investment to repurpose an email phishing scam and go old school to use the U.S. Postal Service to provide a degree of legitimacy that is not found in random emails. 

Also surprising, it took me less than 30-seconds to create a replica of the postal indicia on the letter using a handy tool from Canada Post.

The letter...


My name is XXX. I am a chartered accountant officer with a financial institution in Canada. I must solicit your confidence in this matter as this is, by virtue of its nature, utterly confidential. My late client, Mr. XXX, passed away in 2010 and I have been actively searching for his next of kin ever since. Recently I attended a 3 day conference in Los Angeles, California where I received your contact from one of the coordinators.

There is an unclaimed "10 year fixed universal life insurance policy" with a value of 11.8M USD with our financial institution, which is due since 2019 for payout to a beneficiary. The policyholder was Mr. XXX. Mr. XXX worked with an Energy Company in Alberta Canada before the unfortunate accident that took his life. He died leaving no will and he did not provide a next of kin to either me or the financial institution. Since his death, no one has come forward to claim his estate, and all our efforts to locate his relatives in the United States have proven unsuccessful. Financial Institution Regulation stipulates that insured fixed/policies not claimed after three years must be turned over to the abandoned property/estate division of the province. We are running out of time, hence my method of approach. The goal would be to ensure the monies go to someone who can put it to use, versus the alternative which would be turning the account over to the government.

[OCS: Financial institutions are bound by law to make a reasonable attempt to contact account beneficiaries and have no financial interest in the outcome of any account forfeiture. They do not search for bogus beneficiaries with a "wink-wink" agreement they know is false and illegal.] 

As you share a similar surname and nationality with my deceased client (who may or may not be directly related to you), I am seeking your consent to have you stand as heir and make a claim for this policy. If you permit me to add your name to the policy as next of kin, all proceeds will be processed on your behalf. Rest assured that this is a 100% risk-free claim, and you will not be required to provide a DNA/blood test nor will you be asked to appear in court. We are trusting that you will donate some of the funds to a charity of your choice when the claim is completed, as my late client was quite generous with charitable donations. As the accountant to the late Mr. XXX from the commencement of this policy, I have all the necessary documentation to support this claim and expedite the process in a highly professional and confidential manner. I will provide all the relevant documents our financial institution will require to substantiate your claim as the beneficiary. This claim requires a high level of confidentiality, and it may take up to thirty (30) business days from the date we receive your consent to the date of completion.

[OCS: For a chartered accountant working for any financial institution to alter insurance documents is a criminal act. Likewise, submitting false claim documents without a basis in fact or without substantiation is also a crime for which you may be prosecuted.]

Please contact me at the contact number below. Your immediate response to this matter would be highly appreciated.

Best regards,

While it is hard to believe anyone would fall for this blatant scam, there are confused or desperate senior citizens who routinely set aside commonsense to provide perpetrators with their non-public personal information -- including access to their financial accounts. Even worse, they may be required to show "good faith" by sending money directly to the criminal. And they are all cautioned to keep the matter secret -- especially from their friends and family.

Bottom line...

Forewarned is forearmed. If you know a senior citizen at risk, talk with them or their caretakers.

As for legal remedies, there are few, and the majority of stolen funds are never recovered. Turning this letter over to the FBI or U.S. Postal Inspectors means little as they have no jurisdiction over frauds originating outside our country, or the fraud has to be massive or media-exploitable to attract their attention.

We are so screwed.

-- Steve

“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw

“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”

“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS

"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius

“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell

“Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar

“Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS