This is the Nigerian scam. DO NOT send any money to claim your alleged "inheritance" or “prize” or to help your new “friend” escape the clutches of evil or move their family fortune. The “costs” will escalate until you stop paying or run out of money.
Do NOT give them any bank account information. You have no IDEA how prevalent this scam is, and how persuasive the presentations are to people who desperately want to believe it is "real". If I actually received the money promised in emails over the last two years I would have a net worth larger than Oprah’s! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advance_fee_fraud http://home.rica.net/alphae/419coal/ http://www.scambusters.org/NigerianFee.html http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/pubs/alerts/nigeralrt.shtm http://www.quatloos.com/scams/nigerian.htm http://potifos.com/fraud/ (Just a few of many exposes of this scam.)
I personally know two people who have disregarded all warnings and have sent money to move or release or claim their windfall. Are they sadder but wiser? NO! Their con men are so good that my people STILL BELIEVE just a little more of their cash will get the funds released. However, on the INFINITESIMAL chance that you, of all the possible heirs of your totally-unknown-until-now ancestor, or winner of a lottery-you-never-entered, are going to receive an inheritance, or be given a percentage of a family fortune that can only be moved or released with your help and nobody else’s ... REMINDER: True heirs or winners do not have to send any money to receive REAL inheritances or prizes! Total strangers in other countries cannot defeat evil by sending their money to foreign countries! ... no, an inheritance is not taxable income. Any income taxes, estate taxes, probate costs, and gift taxes are paid by the estate of the decedent.
Lotteries ARE taxable income. But only if you actually get paid. You won’t. If you give them bank account information they will simply use it to take your money from your account. REPEAT: DO NOT SEND THEM ANY MONEY OR GIVE YOUR BANK ACCOUNT INFORMATION! Read the descriptions of the various scams in the links I have provided above. Do not give your new "friend" or the alleged representatives of your long lost relative any bank account information, they will drain your account when they have what they need.