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.

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To help persuade the victim to agree to the deal, the scammer often sends one or more false documents bearing official government stamps, and seals.

419 scammers often mention false addresses and use photographs taken from the Internet or from magazines to falsely represent themselves.

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.

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.One variant of the scam may date back to the 18th or 19th centuries, as a very similar letter, entitled "The Letter from Jerusalem", is seen in the memoirs of Eugène François Vidocq, a former French criminal and private investigator. One of these, sent via postal mail, was addressed to a woman's husband, and inquired about his health.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.If a victim makes the payment, the fraudster either invents a series of further fees for the victim, or simply disappears.While Nigeria is most often the nation referred to in these scams, they originate in other nations as well.Following on from that investigation, Mrs May took the decision to revoke the sponsorship licences of around 60 educational institutions, and detain and remove tens of thousands of international students who had obtained the TOEIC certificate in the past.