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“It’s not just the finances, it’s the emotional part, too—being embarrassed, being ashamed, being humiliated.” Even now, though, she remains conflicted.

A part of her still wants to believe that Charlie is real and that their relationship was real—that the e-mail exchanges about church and the phone calls when they sang together and prayed together meant as much to him as they did to her.

The scam typically involves promising the victim a significant share of a large sum of money, in return for a small up-front payment, which the fraudster requires in order to obtain the large sum.

You can be anywhere in the world and victimize people,” she said.

“When someone is using a computer to hide behind, the hardest thing to find out is who they are.

We can find out where in the world their computer is being used.

Another variant of the scam, dating back to circa 1830, appears very similar to what is passed via email today: "Sir, you will doubtlessly be astonished to be receiving a letter from a person unknown to you, who is about to ask a favour from you...", and goes on to talk of a casket containing 16,000 francs in gold and the diamonds of a late marchioness. It then asked what to do with profits from a .6 million investment, and ended with a telephone number.

Other official-looking letters were sent from a writer who said he was a director of the state-owned Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.

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  1. After reading a sign that strictly prohibits jokes about plane highjacking or bombs, he does just that, with the two then ending up being questioned by TSA officers.