The picture — outdoor photo, big smile — was real, and recent.
And her pitch was straightforward: Looking for a life partner …
In exchange for assistance, the scammer promised to share money with the victim in exchange for a small amount of money to bribe prison guards.
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.
Scammers will pose under the disguise of beautiful pictures as either male or female claiming to be from the United States.
The scammer weaves a story of a successful business person working over seas, having no family; they present themselves as a thoughtful, caring and loving individual who is looking for their soul mate.
Scammers are on dating sites, and social networks setting up fake profiles.The number "419" refers to the section of the Nigerian Criminal Code dealing with fraud, the charges and penalties for offenders.