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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.
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.
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.
Other official-looking letters were sent from a writer who said he was a director of the state-owned Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.
He said he wanted to transfer million to the recipient’s bank account – money that was budgeted, but never spent.
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.
Much of the time, however, the needed psychological pressure is self-applied; once the victims have provided money toward the payoff, they feel they have a vested interest in seeing the "deal" through.
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.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.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.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.