One of the oldest scams is the book is the advance-fee fraud, more commonly known as Nigerian 419 scam after its huge use by Nigerians in the last decade or so (419 is the part of the Nigerian Criminal Code that covers this frime). It’s really a variation of the very old school Spanish Prisoner scam but the idea basic idea is the same – someone needs help and they’re willing to pay you a large sum of money, as long as you front a bit of the cost beforehand.
The old school Spanish Prisoner scam dates back to the 1800′s where a con man convinces the sucker that there’s a very wealthy prisoner locked up in a Spanish jail. The wealthy prisoner is locked up under a false identity and can’t communicate directly with the sucker, he has to go through the intermediary (con man). If the sucker has some money to help free the wealthy prisoner, the prisoner will gladly repay him and then some. If the sucker ponies up some cash, there are often other hitches and require more money, until the sucker realizes he’s been taken.
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