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Once the victim's confidence has been gained, the scammer then introduces a delay or monetary hurdle that prevents the deal from occurring as planned, such as "To transmit the money, we need to bribe a bank official. " or "For you to be a party to the transaction, you must have holdings at a Nigerian bank of 0,000 or more" or similar.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Some scammers have accomplices in the United States and abroad that move in to finish the deal once the initial contact has been made.
This scam usually begins with the perpetrator contacting the victim via email, instant messaging or social media using a fake email address or fake social media account and making an offer that would allegedly result in a large payoff for the victim.
Yet other variants have involved mention of a Nigerian prince or other member of a royal family seeking to transfer large sums of money out of the country—thus, these scams are sometimes called "Nigerian Prince emails".
While Nigeria is most often the nation referred to in these scams, they may originate in other nations as well.