An advance-fee scam is a form of fraud and one of the most common types of confidence trick.
The scam typically involves promising the victim a significant share of a large sum of money, in return for a small up-front payment, which the fraudster requires in order to obtain the large sum.
We had decided that of all the bars we had enjoyed Ba-Li-Bar the best so we headed back to that, by this stage almost all our money had gone, so we headed for the ATM, of course my card was not working, so Sofia stepped up and took out even more money, I won’t tell you how much we had spent or indeed how much of the additional 250 we had left at the end, suffice to say it was avery expensive but great fun night out.
If a victim makes the payment, the fraudster either invents a series of further fees for the victim or simply disappears.
According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation(FBI), "An advance fee scheme occurs when the victim pays money to someone in anticipation of receiving something of greater value—such as a loan, contract, investment, or gift—and then receives little or nothing in return." The scam has been used with fax and traditional mail, and is now prevalent in online communications like emails.
An email subject line may say something like "From the desk of barrister [Name]", "Your assistance is needed", and so on.
The details vary, but the usual story is that a person, often a government or bank employee, knows of a large amount of unclaimed money or gold which he cannot access directly, usually because he has no right to it.
Such people, who may be real but impersonated people or fictitious characters played by the con artist, could include, for example, the wife or son of a deposed African leader who has amassed a stolen fortune, a bank employee who knows of a terminally ill wealthy person with no relatives, or a wealthy foreigner who deposited money in the bank just before dying in a plane crash (leaving no will or known next of kin), and similar characters.
The money could be in the form of gold bullion, gold dust, money in a bank account, blood diamonds, a series of checks or bank drafts, and so forth.
Some scammers have accomplices in the United States and abroad that move in to finish the deal once the initial contact has been made.
This scam usually begins with the perpetrator contacting the victim via email, instant messaging or social media using a fake email address or fake social media account and making an offer that would allegedly result in a large payoff for the victim.
Other official-looking letters were sent from a writer who said he was a director of the state-owned Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.