Business

An “offer” of 30 million delivered by the postman

Fraudsters seem to be going back to old ways

Posted yesterday at 5:00 a.m.

Richard Dufour

Richard Dufour
The Press

A surprise awaited a Westmount resident this week in his mailbox at home: the “opportunity” to collect a $30 million inheritance.

This “special” offer delivered by Canada Post came in a postage-paid detachable sleeve envelope with the logo and name of a major financial institution.

If the resident of Westmount was not fooled, he fears that less “alert” people will be trapped because of the “quality” of the mailing and its level of sophistication.

“The address is perfect. The letter is perfect. The electronic signature is in color. There is a watermark logo. Must do it! It got serious. For some people, this letter will be very believable. We are on another level. This is hand-sewn fraud! he says.

PHOTO ALAIN ROBERGE, THE PRESS

A resident of Westmount has just received this letter at his home.

“It looks super official. I have already received statements of account in the same format. »

This Westmount resident believes he was the victim of a breach of confidentiality in a database, because, he says, the author of the letter has the first letter of his first name, his last name and his complete address .

“As I read, I realize that he’s missing my first name, though, in order to trick me into total identity theft. Once he gets my first name, cell phone number and email address, he can open credit card accounts,” he says.

Targeted by fraud, he estimates that thousands of people could potentially receive a similar letter. “Imagine the expense of postage paid…” he says.

The famous offer

“This letter may seem surprising considering that there has never been any formal communication between us in the past”, is it first indicated in the sending signed by a certain Andy McGuire, presenting himself as a manager of the financial services of Allied Irish Bank, an Irish financial institution.

“I am writing to you regarding the estate of ‘Paul J. Boucher’, a deceased client with the same last name as you. After a thorough background check and careful consideration, I have made the decision to contact you,” the letter read.

“I join you to be the beneficiary of £19.5m [30 millions de dollars canadiens] from the estate of the deceased because you share the same surname, although there is no official will on the part of the deceased”, it is specified.

“In my research, I made sure to contact someone with the necessary intelligence, compatibility and skill to understand this business proposition. The execution of this business deal in connection with this heritage requires your cooperation and my expertise. »

The author of the missive claims to have worked in the banking industry for over 25 years. “You are not going to do this alone, but with my direct help. I will guide you through this process. If this proposal violates your moral ethics or if you are not interested, please accept my apologies and destroy this letter, ”it is added.

The author of the letter ends by pointing out that he is currently in Toronto to participate in a conference on financial and regulatory compliance and that is why he takes the opportunity to send the letter leaving a telephone number whose code regional corresponds to that of northern Ontario.

“As soon as I obtain confirmation of your interest, I will send you the information necessary to carry out the operation for our benefit. If you accept this proposal, I ask that you please contact me using my number in North America or send me your full name, your cellular number, your home telephone number, your fax number to the email address at the bottom of the letter to allow for the preparation of the necessary documents. »

A return of postal fraud?

Called to comment on the case, Canada Post maintains that it had no indication of the content and that it was therefore obliged to send it.

Spokesperson Valérie Chartrand says she has no further information on the fraudulent activities committed by the mail.

“The person who received the letter should contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre. We are committed to participating and collaborating in any investigation,” she said.

This is a fraud that was originally done by mail and which, with the arrival of the Internet, has quietly migrated to email, says Emeline Manson, trainer in fraud prevention and cybersecurity. She feels that one becomes less suspicious by mail than by e-mail. “And fraudsters take advantage of that,” she says.

“It’s not new as a fraud, but the mode of transmission seems to adapt over time. Fraudsters need to realize that they have less success by email, with all the awareness one has, and are reverting to the good old method of mail, where the awareness no longer insists. »

“The first thing that excites me about this shipment, she says, is the fact that it is posted using Canada Post postage paid. If it came directly from Ireland, it wouldn’t. And the whole talk is too good to be true. The fact that we ask that it remain confidential, the first name of the recipient which is incomplete, the email address in Gmail, etc. »

Learn more

  • 45,387
    Number of fraud reports to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Center in 2022 (as of June 30). In 2021, the center had listed 106,974 reports.

    Canadian Anti-Fraud Center

    $242 million
    The Canadian Anti-Fraud Center reports fraud-related financial losses of $242 million in 2022 (as of June 30). The total for 2021 was 381 million.

    Canadian Anti-Fraud Center

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