The Valley’s Pat Bredl knew immediately that the letter she received was a fraud.
The senior said she occasionally receives phone calls from questionable people claiming she owes money for some reason, or is eligible to receive large quantities of cash and she should send her personal banking information so she could receive it.
But last week was the first time she has actually received a fraudulent letter in the mail.
The letter claims to be from Marcus Woodford, an accountant with the Switzerland-based MC Accounting.
He said he received Bredl’s contact information when going through an old file of a deceased client, William Bredi, a Canadian he claims passed away five years ago.
The first thing Bredl noted was that the name in the letter was Bred “i”, not Bred “l”.
The letter writer said William Bredi left millions of dollars but had no will or beneficiary so he is looking for a relative to give the money to.
“You bear the same last name as him,” the letter said. “All arrangements on how to secure the unclaimed funds have been put in place.”
The letter writer goes on to ask Bredl for personal information so he can begin the process of sending her the money, and asked for her “utmost privacy” in this matter.
Bredl said the fact that the letterhead indicated that the accounting firm was in Switzerland, while the address on the envelope was in Ontario also raised her suspicions about the letter.
“I called the RCMP and they gave me a number for a fraud line,” she said. “I called the fraud line and was told that unless I actually lost money, they couldn’t handle my complaint because they were too busy dealing with complaints from those who lost money.”
RCMP Const. Pam Bolton said the North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP detachment receives many reports of frauds throughout the year, whether it comes via email, telephone or letter.
She said there isn’t one form of communication that is being reported more than another.
“In all cases of scams, we advise them to contact the Anti Fraud Centre and/or Equifax, depending on if any information was provided to the ‘company’ or person involved,” Bolton said.
“We like to remind the public that if something seems suspicious about the call/email/letter, it probably is suspicious. Don’t provide any information to them. Don’t follow any links. Never send money without consulting someone whether it be a relative, friend or even your bank.”
People looking for more information about questionable emails, phone calls or other possible fraudulent activities should visit the Canada Fraud Centre’s website.