The FBI has been alerted to a fraudulent email which purports to be from the FBI and attempts to convince recipients to send money to secure prizes won in an international lottery.
The email contains Director Mueller's name and office address, and typically comes under the title, "FBI Internet Fraud Watch/Alert". The return email address may be listed as FBIfraudalert@hotmail.co.uk, or FBIfraudwatch@hotmail.co.uk. The email informs the recipient that the FBI, in conjunction with Scotland Yard, has been made aware that the recipient has won a substantial prize in a lottery, sponsored by a well-known corporation, in the United Kingdom. Recent variations of the phony lottery scams have claimed affiliation with Microsoft and MasterCard. The email goes on to explain that the FBI and Scotland Yard have screened the "Lottery House" and verified the transaction is legal. Both agencies have also examined the Lottery House's legal procedure and confirmed that it is legal as well. The recipients are directed to proceed with the transaction because their funds have been insured and the FBI and Scotland Yard are monitoring the transactions.
This email and the associated lottery are fakes, as the victims are instructed to pay thousands of dollars in up-front fees to secure what eventually proves to be a nonexistent prize. Consumers should be very cautious when notified they have won sweepstakes or lotteries they have not directly participated in. Consumers are further advised that situations requiring up-front payments to secure lottery or sweepstakes winnings are typically fraudulent.