FRAUD ALERT: Inheritance scam attempt from "John Westwood"

LIANS has been received numerous reports of the following scam attempt received as by paper mail from “Accountant and independent underwriter, John Westwood” purportedly from London, UK. The letter begins as follows:

TEL: 01144-793-743-0405 FAX 01144-845-860-0957
Email: johnwestwood @ consultant. com

You're Ref NO: UKHA/ST 2016/CM-2989-WD
Official Beneficiary Settlement Letter
Date Feb 24 2016


Dear Qc,

I am an accountant and independent underwriter, I work for one of the offshore financial institutions here in the United Kingdom. I am aware that this letter has come to you as a surprise. As we have not met before, or handle any business dealings in the past. Nevertheless, I have contacted you with genuine intentions.

I got your contact information when going through an old file of one of my deceased Clients by the name of George Qc, a Canadian citizen, who lived here in the UK for over two decades prior to his death. He died a few years ago.

Inheritance or beneficiary email scams involve lawyers receiving ‘requests’ where their own names are incorporated into the letter or message itself. These scams refer to a deceased individual who shares the last name of the lawyer being targeted. This format is an effective tactic that catches the attention and time of the lawyer while they determine the legitimacy of the communication.

Although the specific details may change (names, countries, monetary figures), keep in mind that legitimate estates do not solicit trustees or heirs by secret letter or email nor do they promise a percentage of the inheritance to carry out the transaction. This has been confirmed as a scam attempt – any communication from these individuals may be simply dismissed.

Be vigilant with every request for services that you receive. Fraudulent requests for services can be made by email, paper mail and courier, as well as individuals who arrive in person to retain you and use your trust account to receive and disburse funds. Be cautious with all cheques received, especially if they exceed an agreed upon amount.

Visit our Fraud section to read more on current reported scams and how to avoid them. Remember that you must always confirm a prospective client’s identification in accordance with the Client ID Regulations of the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society.

If you decide to proceed with a transaction, be sure to go to the bank website to verify branch transit number, address and phone number on the cheque. Wait until the bank confirms that the funds are legitimate and are safe to withdraw from the deposit. Where possible, use the Large Value Transfer System (LVTS), an electronic funds transfer system that allows large payments to be exchanged securely and immediately.

For tips to avoid being victimized, visit the Fraud section on, and to report or seek advice on dealing with fraud and scam attempts, contact Cynthia Nield at or 902 423 1300, x346.