Dating scam stories

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.

The essential fact in all advance-fee fraud operations is the promised money transfer to the victim never happens, because the money does not exist.

Other official-looking letters were sent from a writer who said he was a director of the state-owned Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.

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According to Cormac Herley, a Microsoft researcher, "By sending an email that repels all but the most gullible, the scammer gets the most promising marks to self-select." In Nigeria, scammers use computers in Internet cafés to send mass emails promising potential victims riches or romance, and to trawl for replies.

They refer to their targets as Magas, slang developed from a Yoruba word meaning "fool".

For example, 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 locations in Nigeria.

One reason Nigeria may have been singled out is the apparently comical, almost ludicrous nature of the promise of West African riches from a Nigerian prince.

The sums involved are usually in the millions of dollars, and the investor is promised a large share, typically ten to forty percent, in return for assisting the fraudster to retrieve or expatriate the money.

Although the vast majority of recipients do not respond to these emails, a very small percentage do, enough to make the fraud worthwhile, as many millions of messages can be sent daily.

While Nigeria is most often the nation referred to in these scams, they originate in other nations as well.

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 locations in Nigeria.

Sometimes psychological pressure is added by claiming that the Nigerian side, to pay certain fees, had to sell belongings and borrow money on a house, or by comparing the salary scale and living conditions in Africa to those in the West.

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