Residents are being warned to be on their guard against scam letters that tempt them into providing their personal information with the draw of receiving big money.
Northumberland County Council’s Public Protection Service says that the scam letters request that the recipient responds and registers their interest in receiving millions of dollars.
The writers generally claim to be from a professional background with links to banks, the Government, the mining and petroleum industry or similar bodies.
In the batch of complaints Trading Standards have recently received, they found the scam letters always stated that the first name of the deceased was Richard.
Once contact has been made with the scammers they will try to gain personal information, including bank account details, stating that they will transfer enormous amounts of money into the account.
Coun Dave Ledger, policy board member for public protection, 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 help the scammers to take your money. They can be very convincing and could be tempting in the run up to Christmas.
“We would advise consumers never to respond to this type of letter.
“If in doubt, throw it out. ”
For more information or to report that you have received a similar scam you can contact Consumer Direct on 0845 4040506 or alternatively go online at www.reportfraud.actionfraud.org.uk/fraudreport