Bristol

Bristol trading standards warn over cash promise scam

Cope of scam letter
Image caption Trading Standards officers say it is a particularly disturbing incident as the letter was hand-delivered

Trading standards officers in Bristol are warning of fraudsters operating on the city's Southmead estate.

It follows the hand-delivery of a letter to the home of a man with learning difficulties.

The scam involved the promise of a cut in an $18.5m (£12m) inheritance in Japan which required the man to contact the writer to obtain the money.

Officials said it was the first step fraudsters used as a ruse to obtain the bank account details of their victims.

A spokesman said the type of scam was known as a 419 or advanced fee fraud.

Hand-delivered

Phil Parkyn, from trading standards, said: "The letter made a great deal of the need for secrecy - a typical sign of a 419 scam - and gave an AOL e-mail address and a Japanese fax number.

"Luckily, the resident took the letter to his local housing office where a member of staff spotted immediately that it was a scam.

"He was able to warn the victim who has since made a complaint to trading standards."

This type of scam was said to be very common but normally came by e-mail or post.

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