"Nigerian" Letter Scam \ Advance Letter Scheme
This fraud involves issuing faxes or e-mails to random businesses. These faxes or emails claim to be from an official representing a foreign government or agency. This scheme promises the transfer of millions of dollars into the recipient's personal account, and claims there is no risk.
The business community is usually targeted by this fraud. The faxes or e-mails do not target a single company, but rather are sent out en masse. The business names are usually obtained by trade publications or mailing lists.
Although the offer appears transparent, the criminal will eventually reach someone who, while skeptical, desperately wants the deal to be genuine. It sets the stage for the rest of the scam. After responding to it, the criminal begins convincing the victim to invest money for expenses, so that the millions of dollars can be obtained. The excuses for needing the money include legal fees, customs fees, bribes, and/or other costs that will "free up" the money. This continues until the victim is broke.