Thousands of Britons have received letters, faxes or e-mails purporting to be from an "official" foreign government or agency, usually in Africa.
They offer to transfer millions of pounds into the person's personal bank account, often in exchange for an "administration" fee upfront.
This is the text of one such phoney letter, received by BBC News Online. The name and telephone number have been deleted and the spelling and grammatical mistakes have been left intact.
CONFIDENTIAL FROM MR ____ ______
LOME TOGO WEST AFRICA
ATTENTION THE DIRECTOR Dear INTRODUCTION My name is MR ____ ______
I got your contact through the International Chamber of Commerce consultant.
I am the special Asistant guard to the late president of Congo Democratic Republic DRC (Mr Laurent Kabila).
I am looking for God fearing trust worthy partner that can assist me move the money out of Africa
It was as a result of his constant moving of the country's funds outside the country that resulted to his death.
Some of the official who knew of this said amount planned his assasination, and to overthrow his government, they only wanted him to die.
A day before his assasination, he instructed the FINANCIAL EXPERT FOREIGN AIDS WHITE ASSOCIATE AND I MYSELF to move to Lome-Togo ONE TRUNK BOX containing THE SUM OF (USD$20,000 000) and deposited it with one of the international security company with its affiliates office in spain and in london as family diplomatic valubles.
So that we could move the trunk box out from Togo to Belgium and united states of america under Diplomatic coverage where he was supposed to lodge in the money into his account.
The day he was to leave for meeting, he was assasinated along with the financial foreign expert with the intention that the money was in his possession.
Please my brother. No body knows that i am still alive they all thought that i was also assasinated along side with the late president (KABILA) but i excaped.
The security Company did not know the real content of the trunk box.
It is for this I am looking for God fearing trust worthy partner that can assist me move the money out of Africa.
You should treat this transaction with top most confidentiality and secrecy
Meanwhile you should treat this transaction with top most confidentiality and secrecy.
All the document informations are with me here in Togo as i am here i did not intend any more to leave the rest of my life in congo as the war still on and on i will seak for a nationality in your country after this fund is invested accurately on your advice and control as you and i will be for ever partnership associate with regards to the investment aspect of this fund.
my brother please i will be very happy to receive your quick response with regards to this email.
Absolutely there is no other person human who knows about this money execpt you and i only.
THANKS may our lord god be with you.
YOURS FAITHFULLY ____ ______
(FOR SECURITY REASON) PLEASE ALWAYS REACH ME WITH THIS NUMBER (__ ___ __ __ __).
Anyone in the UK receiving such a letter or e-mail is advised not to reply and forward the correspondence to the National Criminal Intelligence Service, PO Box 8000, London SE11 5EN, or by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org