CHICAGO — Authorities say con artists are scamming people out of thousands of dollars by sending them threatening emails that appear to be from the FBI.

The emails that appear to be from a Chicago-area FBI office alert people that they’re suspected of “money laundering and financing terrorism.” It adds if they don’t respond quickly they’ll be charged with a crime. FBI spokesman Garrett Croon says people who respond receive another email telling them they can avoid prosecution by wiring money to a particular overseas location.

The FBI says an elderly couple recently fell for the scam and lost thousands of dollars.

The FBI says it never informs people by email that they’re suspected of a crime and never asks for money. The FBI asks people to report such emails to .

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