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This breed of scams has been around for a very long time and is known as the advance fee fraud.It has various names such as the Nigerian 419, Nigerian money offer, the Spanish prisoner etc.Similar to the Spanish prisoner scam where the scamster promises to share his fortunes with the victim in exchange for money to bribe the prison guards, the Nigerian 419 has fully come into its own thanks to the availability of email.A scam victim will usually receive an email making an offer of a large sum of money.
Sometimes, the scams are long and stretched out with the scammers attempting to get as much money out of you as possible by cooking up a variety of medical complications.
Instead of asking you to send them money for their ticket, they will instead send you scanned copies of a ticket to convince you they are genuine and are really coming to visit you.
They do not ask for money to buy the ticket or even for visa expenses… However, there is usually a last minute glitch and they will request you to send them a large amount of money without which the trip will be impossible.
The subject lines often read something similar to "From the desk of Mr [name]" or even "Your assistance is solicited".
While the stories may vary slightly, the general plot then talks of a person (usually a corrupt government employee) who has come across a large sum of money and needs your assistance to get the funds out of the country.