The BBC’s Dirty Rotten Scammers programme in June featured a woman who’d been defrauded of her £97,000 inheritance, according to a report in the Sun.

The woman called Sally told the presenters scammers had stolen the money her parents worked so hard for. She had been left the inheritance when her parents passed away and decided to invest the money in property.

When she found the home that she had always dreamt of, she instructed her solicitors to arrange for the purchase and the paperwork. She had dealt with the firm a few times in the past and therefore did not question anything when she received an email that asked her to transfer the money needed for the house sale.

Inheritance money sent to fraudsters

But because she had to transfer the money in two transactions because of the amount involved, she did not realise her details had been compromised and she was sending her inheritance money to fraudsters pretending to be her solicitors.

When her bank called to ask about the payments, she then phoned her solicitors to check on the two transfers and discovered that they had not made the request. She had been conned.

Sally told the programme’s presenters that she was “distraught” and that the experience took her to a “very dark place” that she did not want to return to. She added that what happened made her lose her trust in people and she did not even trust herself.

Settlement of £55,000

She went on to fight her solicitors for the next year and eventually received a settlement of £55,000, but she and her family still missed out on almost half of the money she had inherited from her parents.

Action Fraud is the National Fraud & Cyber-crime Reporting Centre, which has extensive resources on how to prevent fraud. Advice for individuals includes never giving out any personal information (name, address, bank details, email or phone number) to organisations or people before checking their credentials.

In addition, you should always question unsolicited calls, texts or emails that request your personal or financial information (name, address, bank details, email or phone number). Do not reply and contact the company directly, using either a known email or phone number.

Protect your devices

It is also wise to make sure your computer has the latest anti-virus software and a firewall installed to protect your devices from viruses and hackers.

Watch out for phishing emails, which can often look like they come from genuine organisations, and never click on links in unexpected emails or texts.

Finders International trace missing beneficiaries to estates, properties and assets.  To see a full list of our services, please click here:   Alternatively, you can contact us via telephone +44(0) 20 7490 4935 or email [email protected]