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RobertJDFL, Attorney
Category: Fraud Examiner
Satisfied Customers: 12132
Experience:  Attorney experienced in criminal and various other areas of law.
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I was sent email saying i won a belgium lottery iwas directed

Customer Question

i was sent email saying i won a belgium lottery iwas directed to a law firm there ive been in contact with him and the bank i sent them 1700dollars and now they say i need to pay there state tax code for them to credit my account with my winning i have all emails from the lawyer and the bank
Submitted: 7 months ago.
Category: Fraud Examiner
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
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Expert:  RobertJDFL replied 7 months ago.
Thank you for using Just Answer. Unfortunately, you have been the victim of a clever, and common scam. You will receive notification that you have won a lot of money or a fantastic prize in a competition, lottery or sweepstake that you don’t remember entering. The contact may come by mail, telephone, email, text message or social media.The prize you have ‘won’ could be anything from a tropical holiday to electronic equipment such as a laptop or a smartphone, or even money from an international lottery, as in this case. To claim your prize, you will be asked to pay a fee. Scammers will often say these fees are for insurance costs, government taxes, bank fees or courier charges. The scammers make money by continually collecting these fees from you and stalling the payment of your winnings. The email, letter or text message you receive will ask you to respond quickly or risk missing out. It may also urge you to keep your winnings private or confidential, to ‘maintain security’ or stop other people from getting your prize by mistake. Scammers do this to prevent you from seeking further information or advice from independent sources. They'll even go so far to sometimes use the name of a real international lottery (like the UK Lotto, or Australian Lottery) so that it seems legitimate when you look it up.You may also be asked to provide personal details to prove that you are the correct winner and to give your bank account details so the prize can be sent to you. Scammers use these details to try to misuse your identity and steal any money you have in your bank account.Here's the thing: you can't win a lottery or contest you didn't enter. And a real lottery will not contact you over email. Most importantly, a real sweepstakes or lottery will never have you send money to collect your winnings. These scams are all (typically) from foreign countries -Ghana, Jamaica, Russia, Nigeria, etc. And, the scams take on a variety of different forms -from romance scams to lottery to business scams. We see it all the time on this site. Unfortunately, the FBI doesn't have jurisdiction in a foreign country. But here's what you need to do. First, stop sending money, and stop communicating with these people. They'll just keep asking for more money. Second, be alert to any suspicious emails or scams in the weeks that follow --scammers often come back to victims with new scams to try and get more money. Third, keep a close eye on your bank accounts and credit report -make sure there's no suspicious activity. Lastly, file a complaint online with the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) which is a joint task force between the FBI and other international agencies. They'll do their best to look into this scam and shut down these scammers. But...the reality is you likely will not recover any money you did send them. I've never known a scam victim to recover anything.Finally, talk to your tax professional about this --because you may be able to get a tax deduction next year for the money you were scammed out of by claiming a loss. That's something they would know more about (a police report may be required as proof of loss). If you need clarification or additional information, please reply, and I'm happy to assist further.

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