Fraudsters use mail in advance-fee scam

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.

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