On Your Side Alert: Warning about inheritance email

On Your Side Alert: Warning about inheritance email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - An email from a company claiming you are due an inheritance raised suspicions of cyber experts.

A viewer called NBC12 after the suspicious email landed in his inbox. It's a simple email, but enough to cause some major financial problems if you reply. It claims a company is trying to reach him about an inheritance.

"The bad news for this email user is that they have not had an heir die with a lot of money that is going to magically fill their bank account and relive all their financial worries," said Lawrence Muir, who teaches a course on Cyber Crimes at Washington Lee University and knew right away this was not legit.

Muir says like most fraudulent emails, this one is filled with grammatical errors and typos.

"The people that are doing this, this is their business and they don't want to waste time on people that are savvy, they want to get the people that are gullible and going to fall for it right away," he explained.

When it comes to unsolicited emails, the rule of thumb is to never reply, but these cyber criminals are good at what they do, and even if don't reply, they have ways of tracking you.

"They can see who is actually opening their emails, they can see who is unsubscribing to their emails. They know who is gullible to even open up this spam email in the first place," Muir explained.

There are more red flags in the email. For example, there is no contact information and there is an option to unsubscribe, which our expert says probably means it was sent out as a bulk email to see who would take the bait.

"Ultimately, what they want you to do, is wire money overseas because once that money is wired overseas, it is gone and you can't call it back. There is no fraud protection," Muir said.

If you're wondering, Muir says yes, people fall for these. He says cyber crime is profitable, it's one of the reasons malicious emails continue to be a problem. His advice, if you don't recognize the sender, don't even open the email, just hit delete.


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