Online Inheritance Scam Pretends to be Connected to Your Bank

Fraud Alerts
Online scammers thrive on staying one step ahead, and unwitting victims easily fall into their traps, especially on social media. A frequent scam involves an elderly woman who sends friend requests or follow requests to strangers in foreign countries on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. The woman’s profile often quotes scripture and includes religious images. Once she makes a new “friend,” she asks if the person would be the beneficiary for her account in the United States. She tells the “friend” that she is a widow without children, and she is terminally ill. She says she wants to select someone special, which draws the victim in further.

Once the victim agrees to inherit her money, she gives the “friend” an email address of a fake director at TowneBank who will provide the “friend” with more instructions. The scammers set up a fraudulent email address pretending to be from TowneBank: The scammers send fake wire forms for the victim to complete and send back. At this point, the “friend” may have provided personal information such as name, address, date of birth, passport copies and bank account information. Additionally, the “friend” must send a dormant account fee – usually $300 - $500 USD – in order to access the funds. Once the “friend” sends money, the emails stop and both the woman and the bank director disappear.

A quick search of the woman’s name on any social media platform will show multiple profiles that use variations of the same name and photo. The woman is not a real person, please do not share any information with her. 

We ask that you report any activity of this kind to us at

Only deposit products are FDIC insured. 

The information provided is not intended to be legal, tax, or financial advice or recommendations for any specific individual, business, or circumstance. TowneBank cannot guarantee that it is accurate, up to date, or appropriate for your situation. Financial calculators are provided for illustrative purposes only. You are encouraged to consult with a qualified attorney or financial advisor to understand how the law applies to your particular circumstances or for financial information specific to your personal or business situation. 

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