RESIDENTS in the Morpeth area have been warned to be on their guard against scam letters.
Several letters have been sent to people around Morpeth and Hepscott claiming to be from a Chinese private investment manager.
The letters, which are all personally addressed, say the recipient is the beneficiary of $17.5million following the death of a man named William, who shares their surname.
They are warned to keep the letter confidential and get in touch with the sender to arrange for money to be transferred.
However, Northumberland County Council’s Trading Standards team has warned that they are a scam to draw people into parting with personal information, including bank details.
Business and Consumer Protection Manager Jimmy Power said: “We cannot stress enough that people must never give personal or bank details to people that they do not know.
“These letters have been circulating for years and their intention is to take your money. We would advise consumers never to respond to these type of letters.”
Similar letters have been sent from around the world, with the writers generally claiming to be from a professional background with links to banks, the Government, the mining or petroleum industry, or other bodies.
Council Executive Member for Health and Public Protection Anita Romer said: “From previous enquiries we have found that those who respond will be inundated with many more similar scams. These are difficult to stop and it increases the risk of the recipient becoming inadvertently involved in other scams. If in doubt, throw it out.”
To report such a scam contact Consumer Direct on 0845 404 0506, or Action Fraud on 0300 1232040.