A suspected fraudster has been targeting Canadian Holocaust survivors with a scam that has been described as “vile,” Canada’s National Post reported on Thursday.
Letters delivered in Alberta and Ontario ask for the recipients’ personal information in order to facilitate the transfer of funds, telling them they are entitled to a share of $75 million from the “Holocaust Claims Processing Office.” The communique says the restitution will be transferred to a “secure numbered account” and asks for 60 percent of the money as a “fee.”
Scammers typically push victims to pay “fees” in advance falsely promising to deliver even greater funds at a later stage, according to the National Post.
“I have all secret details and necessary contacts for claim of the funds without any hitch,” reads the letter signed by Larry Dubali, identified as a senior partner of Tenure Consulting in New York.
When contacted by the National Post on Thursday, Dubali, who the paper said seemed to speak with an African accent, hung up without answering questions. The phone number and address on his letters are associated with complaints about telephone fraud, according to the report.
After obtaining copies of the letters from community members, Sara Saber-Freeman, executive vice-president of the Toronto-based Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, called Dubali. Noting his West African accent, she wondered whether her phone-call had been forwarded to a line in another country.
“It’s so clear that this is a scam. These scams really do play upon and destroy people and their life savings,” she said, pointing out that a similar case of fraud appeared in the United Kingdom a decade ago. “That they are leveraging the Holocaust to do this, it’s just vile. This is just odious.”
Saber-Freeman’s organization notified the police, phone company and Internet provider about the scheme while another organization, Canadian Jewish Holocaust Survivors and Descendants, sent letters to community leaders on Wednesday warning them about the scam.
“It’s obscene as far as I’m concerned,” said Co-President Sidney Zoltak. “Does it surprise me that there are people who would do that to Holocaust survivors? They’ll do it to anybody, they’ll do it to their own family.”