Richie's picture showed a jolly, bearded man curled up on a couch with a cat rubbing his face."Loving, caring and hardworking," the online dating profile said."He said he was going to pay me back double," she laughs.
"The story was getting more and more bizarre," she says.
Smalley agreed, and over the next two weeks, she cashed two 0 money orders and sent along the funds. 'My whole world had fallen apart' "The bank told me I was responsible for that money. Smalley shared her version of events with in the hopes that others might not fall for the same trickery.
Then, Richie was ready to leave the country, but needed money to deal with a visa problem. I had to pay them ,700, which was everything I had," she said. "Never in my wildest dreams would I have ever known that this is all a part of an elaborate online scam. agencies have issued warnings on the scams, also known as "419" or "advance-fee" frauds.
When you get a reply, its 70% sure that youll get the money, a former scammer says.
(Sunday Alamba / AP) FESTAC, Nigeria — As patient as fishermen, the young men toil day and night, trawling for replies to the e-mails they shoot to strangers half a world away. But the few who actually reply make this a tempting and lucrative business for the boys of Festac, a neighborhood of Lagos at the center of the cyber-scam universe.