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Ask Anthony: Beware of inheritance letter scam

Ask Anthony: Beware of inheritance letter scam

  • PublishedJuly 10, 2024

A Jacksonville woman received a letter that a dead relative’s life insurance policy was unclaimed. She contacted the Ask Anthony team about the possible scam.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Did you receive a letter in the mail from what appears to be a law office in Canada?

The letter says a person has died with your same last name and left you millions of dollars in inheritance money.  It must be an uncle or cousin you never met, right?

Think again. It’s probably a scam. 

“This seems like a scam.  In my gut, I felt like this was a scam,” Diane Lemons told Anthony Austin. 

A couple of months ago, Jacksonville resident Diane Lemons received a letter in her mailbox from an attorney in Canada that a dead relative’s life insurance policy was unclaimed.  She contacted the Ask Anthony team about it. 

According to the document, she was next in line to receive the money from the policy that totaled more than $10 million. But, when she looked closely at the letter, she didn’t recognize the name of this distant cousin.

The letter said the late Dr. Maria Lemons was a stockbroker and a retired CPA.  She was a COVID-19 victim, who died about four years ago, and no one has come forward to claim the money.  But, there’s a catch. The letter says to collect the money, 10 percent must be sent to a charity, and the rest will be split between the attorney in Canada and Diane.  

The Federal Trade Commission has issued warnings about this scam. According to the FTC, when people respond to the letters, the scammers will try to get your personal and financial information, like your social security or bank account numbers. 

The best thing to do if you receive this letter?  Don’t respond.  Keep your money and your information to yourself. 

You can file a report with the Federal Trade Commission by going to

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