Threatening emails from FBI concern residents

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By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey
By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey
By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey

PHOENIX -- Christina Collins is your typical mom. And one of her favorite things to do is to see her little boy off to school every morning on the school bus. "Have a good day," Collins calls as she waves to her son.

And although she's a mom, there's one thing she's not, and that's a millionaire.

But according to an email she received from the FBI, not only is she a millionaire, she's also in trouble. "When I first started reading through this, I started saying, 'Oh my God. What is this?' It was threatening and intimidating," Collins told 3 On Your Side.

According to the letter, the FBI said it had intercepted $10.5 million dollars from a box that was being transported through the Los Angeles airport, and that the owner of the box was none other than Collins.

Shipping that much cash is illegal, and the letter demanded Collins contact the FBI agent listed in the email as soon as possible or she would face serious consequences. "You will be arrested and charged and jailed under the stipulation of the laws of the United States," Collins said as she read through the email.

Collins soon realized the letter was bogus and nothing more than a scam. 3 On Your Side emailed the sender in hopes of opening communication.

However, the email address had been taken down and is now obsolete. But, the real FBI warns about this scam on its website, telling people not to be fooled by the email and several others that claim to be from the FBI.

This particular scheme works by targeting a person with the intimidating FBI email. The scammer then hopes the person will reply, and out of fear, will attempt to clear up the matter. The scammer eventually convinces the person to wire "fees" or "settlement costs" to avoid or resolve the criminal charges.

Most of these emails originate out of Nigeria, for example, and are difficult to crack down on because these countries do not have good relationships with U.S. law enforcement.

Collins says she certainly didn't fall for it, and hopes others won't either. "Don't open it. Ignore it.  Trash it. Whatever you need to do to keep it from coming back to you," Collins said.