In early September, some Toronto residents began receiving letters claiming to be mailed by Lei Wang, the deputy chief executive officer of the Bank of China’s Luxembourg branch.
The authentic-looking letters were each mailed in an apparent postage-paid envelope, whose straight-edge postage-paid indicia may be counterfeit, with the respective recipient’s initial, surname and full address on the front. In the letter, “Wang,” who’s mistakenly referenced as working in Hong Kong – not his actual Luxembourg location – says he’s trying to find the beneficiaries of an estate worth $46 million US.
It’s believed the letters are part of a co-ordinated advance-fee scam, a common type of fraud in which the perpetrators will demand a small, up-front payment from victims, who are then promised a large sum of money.
The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre has been notified about the scam.
Canadians across the country have reported nearly 70 advance-fee scams through the Better Business Bureau’s Scam Tracker. Together, the scams account for tens of thousands of dollars in losses for the victims.
Advance-fee loan fraud, another type of advance-fee scamming, in which scammers ask victims for a fee to secure a future loan, costs Canadians an estimated $1 million a year.