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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.
Never respond to emails like the one below because if you respond in any way, all you will succeed in doing is either getting scammed or letting the scammers know that they have a real person with whom to deal. The compensation fund was awarded earlier January 15th 2009, we discovered that you have been having hard time in the system of receiving the fund but still no luck yet, we also understood that you have made so much down payment to this country Benin republic but you were dealing with the wrong people.
Today dated 27th November 2012, your fund is now under the custody of the ministry of finance Benin republic because we want to handle everything financially this time in other to make sure that nobody was scammed and no wrong payment is made, note that we don’t want what happened in the time past to repeat again and that is why we are taking charge of everything concerning your compensation fund.
It is my pleasure to tell you that we have to open another new payment file for you and everything will be documented in our office here with the help and instructions from the ministry of finance and the opening of the new payment file with our office profile will cost you the only money you have to spend in this matter in which the amount is .00 only.
She filled out a questionnaire and carefully crafted her profile.
It would have been easy to burnish the truth, but she presented herself honestly, from her age (57) and hobbies ("dancing, rock collecting") to her financial status ("self sufficient").