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Zoey_JD, Criminal attorney
Category: Fraud Examiner
Satisfied Customers: 23578
Experience:  Active member of the NYS bar since 1989
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I received an e-mail from the FBI saying I have won an International

Customer Question

I received an e-mail from the FBI saying I have won an International Lottery Company. The money is deposited in IMF and I need to send $96 to cover the cost of shipping the check and other expenses. The FBI letter LOOKS official but how can I tell?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Fraud Examiner
Expert:  Zoey_JD replied 1 year ago.
My name is ***** ***** I will be assisting you with your question.
I can tell you now that there is nothing official about this.
First of all, there is no such thing as a legitimate international lottery. The laws of each country are different and in many instances in conflict. No such lottery is possible.
Secondly, you cannot win a contest you didn't enter. Scammers always want you to believe you can be picked out of thin air based on your phone number or email address, but that's not true. Lottery winners are paid out of the proceeds of lottery ticket sales. In order to win a lottery, you must buy a ticket and wait for the winning numbers to be published. Then, if your ticket has those numbers, you present the ticket to the lottery's claim center and they hand you a check.
Thirdly, the FBI is a law enforcement agency, and its mandate is to investigate crime and make arrests. It has nothing to do with giving out lottery winnings. The FBI warns of this scam here:
The IMF The IMF does not deal in lotteries either. It deals exclusively with countries and has nothing to do with the finances of individuals. It is very aware of scams perpetrated in its name and it warns about scams on its website. Here's one of its warnings.
Finally, the $96 requirement is an advance fee, the #1 sign of a contest fraud. When you really win a lottery, the money is already yours. There's no need to pay anything at all to collect it. The contest already has your money and can simply deduct its expenses before handing it over. They don't need more of it from your own pocket, and no matter what reason they are saying they need it for, this is a sure sign of a scam.
If you pay the $96, the scammers will know they have a live fish on their hook. They will ask you for more money, but the next time, they will want thousands. The time after that, they will ask for that much and more.
Cease all contact with the scammers. Send no money. Report the fraud to the real FBI online at and to the Federal Trade Commission at