Senegal dating scams
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.
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." There are many variations of this type of scam, including the 419 scam (also known as the Nigerian Prince scam), the Spanish Prisoner scam, the black money scam, Fifo's Fraud and the Detroit-Buffalo scam.
In 2006, 61% of internet criminals were traced to locations in the United States, while 16% were traced to the United Kingdom, and 6% to Nigeria.
Some victims even believe they can cheat the other party, and walk away with all the money instead of just the percentage they were promised.
They refer to their targets as Maghas, slang developed from a Yoruba word meaning "fool" and referring to gullible white people.
Some scammers have accomplices in the United States and abroad that move in to finish the deal once the initial contact has been made.
Another variant of the scam, dating back to circa 1830, appears very similar to what is passed via email today: "Sir, you will doubtlessly be astonished to be receiving a letter from a person unknown to you, who is about to ask a favour from you...", and goes on to talk of a casket containing 16,000 francs in gold and the diamonds of a late marchioness. It then asked what to do with profits from a .6 million investment, and ended with a telephone number.
Other official-looking letters were sent from a writer who said he was a director of the state-owned Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.
The implication that these payments will be used for "white-collar" crime such as bribery, and even that the money they are being promised is being stolen from a government or royal/wealthy family, often prevents the victim from telling others about the "transaction", as it would involve admitting that they intended to be complicit in an international crime.