Cumbria county councillor is targeted in scam
Last updated at 16:08, Friday, 16 August 2013
MEMBERS of the public are being warned not to fall for a “blatant scam” letter after a councillor was asked to claim a $17.5m fortune by a man claiming to be Chinese investment manager.
Councillor Anne Burns, a Cumbria county councillor, received a letter through the post on Monday telling her that she was entitled to the investments made by a “late William Burns”.
However, the only William Burns that Mrs Burns knows, her brother-in-law, is very much alive.
She said: “Everything about the letter is dodgy. It’s a blatant scam. It makes people think that an amount of money is available to them at the end of a phone call.
“I’m just worried that if a person emails this guy then it will open them up to all sorts.
“I don’t want vulnerable people to get conned and to give their details away, as people can clear out a bank account in seconds.
“I suspect that someone has just gone through the phone book picking out all the Burns in the area, which is worrying as there are a lot of us.”
The letter, which is littered with grammatical mistakes, is from a Tung Jing who describes himself as Mr Burns’ former private investment manager.
It states that Mr Burns made a number of investments prior to his death, to the value of $17.5m, but no relatives had claimed the fortune from his Chinese bank account.
He suggests splitting the sum 50-50 with Mrs Burns.
The letter reads: “I propose that we don’t allow this money go to the government and work together to legally secure this money in full compliance with the laws of China.
“Kindly keep this communication confidential due to its sensitivity as we do not want this inheritance to fall in the wrong hands...”
Mrs Burns, 65, of Gilpin Walk, Walney, is worried that vulnerable people may end up providing their financial details.
She said: “I want to give a warning for people to keep their wits about them. If receiving letters like this, you must phone Trading Standards or tear it up and put it in the bin because it’s dangerous.
“The letter ticks all the right boxes. It only takes one or two vulnerable or trusting people to fall for it.
“When it says keep this information confidential then you must question mark it.”
Mrs Burns is passing the letter on to Trading Standards to investigate.
A Trading Standards spokesman said that anyone concerned about possible scam letters can call the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 08454 040506.
Concerned residents can visit www.adviceguide.org.uk for general advice on consumer issues.
First published at 16:00, Friday, 16 August 2013
Published by http://www.nwemail.co.uk
Have your say
My mum-in-law is 86 and she also received an identical letter from an investment manager in china. This was for exactly the same amount. We told her it was a scam and we were relieved to see your article, because now she believes us. We hope other people follow your advice.