(RAYCOM) - If you surf the internet, there is a warning to tell you about. A letter is circulating, and responding to it could cost you your identity and destroy your credit.
The bogus email has the FBI logo on it and is signed by an agent. It says that a bank has a cash prize of $8.4 million waiting for you. The claim in the email is somebody has attempted to come in and claim the estate or the winnings in your stead.
The fraudulent email even includes a copy of the person's passport supposedly trying to claim your money. It goes on to say the bank needs you to provide personal information for verification purposes.
"They are really not just soliciting your information so they can make an attempt to run a scam on your credit," said Sgt. Paul Huffstutler of the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office in Richmond, VA. "That is how they are preying upon these victims using their sense of anger or entitlement people get agitated saying no, that's not me let me give them all the information I can so they know it's not me so that the money can come back to my account because I need it."
What may be even more interesting is the email doesn't ask for your social security number. But police say criminals can still get their hands on your social in other ways if they have enough personal information about you.
"They can enter into new lines of credit," Huffstutler said. "The worst case I always see is people getting second mortgages on their homes that they don't know exist."
When it comes to these type of phony emails, common sense is your best defense.
"If you have won a lottery that you never entered into in the first place, there is no lottery," said Huffstutler.
Another red flag - the email is full of misspellings and it's poorly written. The FBI says if they need to notify you on an investigation, they won't ask for any personal information by email or phone.
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