They frighten or entice you into visiting a phony web page and entering your ID and password.
Commonly, the guise is an urgent need to "confirm your identity".
But instead of leading you to the real login https: site, the link will secretly redirect you to a fake website. This information is intercepted by the scammers, who later access your account and fleece you for several hundred dollars.
This phishing con, like all cons, depends on people believing the legitimacy of their emails and web pages.
These are examples of some of the most notorious scams in the world of online dating and on the internet in general.
Nobody wants to be scammed yet most people are not quite sure what to look out for.
The scam has been used with fax and traditional mail, and is now prevalent in online communications like emails.
The number "419" refers to the section of the Nigerian Criminal Code dealing with fraud, the charges and penalties for offenders.
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.