Email scam about a Last Will and Testiment can lead to identity theft

MIAMI – The Miami-Dade Consumer Services Department is alerting consumers that they may be the next target of an email scam involving an alleged woman’s last will and testament.

The phony phishing email comes from a woman named Harriet Brooks of Cote D’ Ivoire (Ivory Coast, Africa), who claims to have more than seven million dollars that she wishes to donate. The originator of the email promises to arrange the transfer of funds to the recipient’s bank account. However, this is a sure sign of a risky transaction.

Like many other reported email schemes involving phony individuals or organizations, such as Nigerian government officials and foreign royalty, these emails are designed to capture the recipient’s personal information, including social security number and bank account.

Many of these emails offer the recipient significant sums of money. Providing personal information puts consumers at risk of identity theft, which could result in stolen credit, stolen bank accounts and other damaging consequences.

Tips on protecting yourself from identity theft

· Never give out your social security number, bank account or other personal information.

· Reconcile your bank account monthly, and notify your bank of discrepancies immediately.

· Report unauthorized financial transactions to your bank, credit card company and the police as soon as you detect them.

· Review a copy of your credit report at least once each year. Notify the credit bureau in writing of any questionable entries and follow through until they are explained or removed.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation recommends forwarding fraudulent emails to the U.S. Secret Service, your local FBI office at or the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. Complaints can also be registered with the Federal Trade Commission’s Consumer Sentinel at

Helpful tips and resources to prevent identity theft are also available on the Miami-Dade Consumer Services Department website at or via the Consumer Mediation Center at 305-375-3677.

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