By Will Sturgeon
Published: 18 February 2003 17:20 GMT
Anybody who has ever received the notorious Nigerian Money Scam will probably have asked themselves the same question - what would happen if I replied?
For those of you unfamiliar with this email scam, the basic idea is simple. Somebody purporting to be a Nigerian banker contacts you, offering a chance to earn some serious money. Often his bank will be looking after the considerable fortune of a deceased millionaire - from shipping magnate to former president. He says he needs a foreign bank account through which to launder the money - and in return for sending him your bank details for this purpose, he will give you a share of the spoils.
Of course those who fall for this scam never see these promised millions. Instead their bank accounts are often cleaned out once they have handed over all their details - which include bank account numbers, copies of their passport and drivers licence and phone and fax numbers - it is a simple identity theft, dressed up with a tempting lure for the gullible.
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