Wednesday, 14 November 2012

There have been four letters

addressed to my late uncle in the past week. All of them claim the same thing - that he is owed money and the writer can help to reclaim it. I have binned all of them.
Yes, there is money owing and it is that amount. We know that. At present it is tied up at the taxation office. My cousin will, no doubt, get around to having it released in due course. It has nothing to do with me now that I have checked and informed him that it is there.
The letter writers however think differently. It does have somehing to do with them - or so they would have us believe. Oh yes, three different organisations (one of them so keen they wrote twice) believe that they, and only they, have the power to unlock this money - or that is what they would have us believe.
The letters all sound very serious and very professional. All sorts of documents will have to be produced so that the money can be claimed. We are to ignore the letter if it is not intended for the recipient - oh yes and there will be a "modest fee" of 10% of the sum.
We have had similar letters before. They are actually legal (although only just) but they are also immoral. These "companies" rely on the fact that many people do not know where to look - a government website belonging to the taxation office -  and that even those who do believe that they cannot access the money themselves if they find they (or an estate) is owed some. I know there are other similar sites for other countries.
They must make money - and probably quite a lot of money - because many people cannot be bothered doing the work themselves or just fail to understand that they can.
It would probably be useful to teach this sort of thing at school and for the general public to be reminded from time to time that they can do this sort of thing themselves.
It is just a little too easy and dangerous to allow others to do it for you.

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