Have you ever had one of those emails in your inbox telling you that you have won several million Euros in the European Lottery? I certainly have. Those emails prompted me to investigate what would happen if I were to answer one of those emails and give them some of my information.

Why should you worry about this type of email scam? The reason you should worry is that it is one of the most common scams circulating around the internet lately.

Some of the emails are quite convincing. They look official, and promise that they are going to cut a check for a large sum of money and make it out to you.

The best thing to do if you receive one of these emails is to simply delete it. Do not respond to the email and whatever you do, do not send any of your personal information to them. Some of these email will ask you to send them an overseas processing fee.

If you send them your personal information, they will fill your inbox and snail mailbox with junk mail.

Never send money to a lottery agency. Remember that a legitmate lottery agents will never require payment or even purchases before they send you a check. The second thing to remember is that legitimate organizations will display their logo prominently. It is always difficult to identify who sends the scams emails.

So what happens if you send one of these organization some money?

  • The scam agent will have you deposit your money into a "bank" account. This is a fake bank and your money is gone. The overseas bank usually has a very authenthic looking website. The victim is drawn into this scam by the promise of millions of dollars.
  • Sometimes the victim is convinced that he should travel overseas to pay a cash fee. He is told that the cash cannot be released if this fee is not paid. There have been incidents when a victim has been given counterfeit cash.
  • There is very little that can be done if you have already given them money. You really should contact a law enforcement agency so they can be alerted that there is a scam going on and they can begin an investigation.
  • If you supplied the scammers with your personal information you should read the Federal Trade Commission's website on identity theft. You can access it at http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/idtheft/.

Organizations that are not scamming you will also provide a toll-free number to call if you have any questions.

Rember a couple of things about emails you receive regarding email lotteries.

1) They are always scams. If you didn't buy a ticket, you were not in a lottery.If you are confused, contact your local law enforcement agency before you contact the lottery. They will be able to tell if the lottery is legitimate very quickly.

2) Do not be drawn into their scam by a slick looking email.

3) do not reply to the email. Do not call them and whatever you do, do not send them any of your hard earned money.

If it sounds too good to be true, it is too good to be true.