Some scammers have accomplices in the United States and abroad that move in to finish the deal once the initial contact has been made.
purportedly sent to a selected recipient but actually sent to many, making an offer that would allegedly result in a large payoff for the victim.
An advance-fee scam is a type of fraud and one of the most common types of confidence trick.
In exchange for transferring the funds out of Nigeria, the recipient would keep 30% of the total.
To get the process started, the scammer asked for a few sheets of the company’s letterhead, bank account numbers, and other personal information.
The scam has been used with fax and traditional mail, and is now prevalent in online communications like emails.
Online versions of the scam originate primarily in the United States, the United Kingdom and Nigeria, with Ivory Coast, Togo, South Africa, Benin, the Netherlands, and Spain also having high incidences of such fraud.
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.
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.
This is the money being stolen from the victim; the victim willingly transfers the money, usually through some irreversible channel such as a wire transfer, and the scammer receives and pockets it.
More delays and additional costs are added, always keeping the promise of an imminent large transfer alive, convincing the victim that the money the victim is currently paying is covered several times over by the payoff.
According to Cormac Herley, a researcher for Microsoft, "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".
More recently, scammers have also used fake but plausible-seeming accounts on social networks to make contact with potential victims.