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Lottery, Sweepstake or International scams typically involve receiving unsolicited emails or letters offering the recipient large sums of money for assistance in transferring money to American banks.  The recipient is offered a percentage of the amount transferred as compensation for their help.  Recipients who respond are asked to provide their account information in order to have the funds transferred to them.  Once the scam artists have your account information, they not only don’t transfer funds to your account, they use the account information to steal money from it.  These offers typically are originated from foreign countries, often Nigeria, Spain or Canada.  View an example of a Lottery/Sweepstake scam or an International scam.

Newer scams are called Account Manager or Money Transfer Agent.  Recipients receive an email or advertisement online trying to recruit them to be an account manager or transfer agent for a fictitious company.  In these cases, money is stolen from an unsuspecting person’s account and transferred to the account of the manager or agent.  The criminals then request the manager/agent send the funds back to them.  Again, a percentage of the amount transferred is offered as compensation to the manager/agent.  This opens up the personal accounts of the manager/agent to fraud – and if the account is used in an online scheme, the owner may be liable for lost funds. 

Please keep in mind, there is NO legitimate reason for someone to give you money (in any form including money order, check, or wire transfer) only to ask you to send it back.  It’s illegal for companies to require you to buy something or pay a fee in order to win or claim a prize. 

Should you receive one of these emails, do not reply.  Report the letter to the Internet Fraud Complaint Center.

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