How's this scam work?

Always a sob story from rich people in a poor country (see sample below). Dont know what the scam here is though never really gave it much thought but this is not the 3rd one I’ve recieved. I seem to get one of these at my work email addy about every 3 or 4 months. I don’t recognize the sender’s address…are they just trying to get me to set up a join account or something, and do people actually fall for this?? Any thoughts?

Unedited copy of message below (this example is about 1 year old, dont ask me why i tend to keep crap like this):

TEL : 00225-07-90-33-16


I hope this would not be a surprising message to you,
I have been actually praying hard day in and day out
that God should touch the heart of whom we intend to
go into partnership regarding investing our late
father’s money.
I am Miss Asetu Bundi daughter of late Alphonse Bundi
from Republic of Guinea. My late father was Gold and
Diamond merchant based in Freetown Sierra-Leone. As a
result of the political instability of Sierra-Leone
and Guinea, our late father came to Abidjan, Cote d’
Ivoire with the sum of USD 4,500,.000.00 ( US$ 4.5m )
securely locked in a cargo which he deposited in a
security company here in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire for
security reasons I am here with my brother seeking for
an avenue to transfer this money to a reliable and
trustworthy individual for investment
We are here as political refugees because of the
political crisis in my country Guinea. This is a
complete barrier to our opening a bank account here in
Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire for the opening of a
non-residence bank account in which this money would
be deposited for the gradual transfer to your bank
account, your coming here would give us the
opportunity to meet you face to face and discuss
modalities concerning area of investment.
Please we would offer you 20% of the total sum of USD

If you are willing to assist us please contact us on
telephone number 225-07-90-33-16 or email address.

Best regards

Asetu Bundi

Usually has one of a few endings.

  1. you have to invest some money to show intent. Scammers take the money and run.

  2. you have to provide bank information (routing/account numbers< etc.) Scammers empty out your bank account and run.

  3. you have to go to their country with some “up front” money. They kill you and take the money.

Check it out on and other such sites.

These things have been doing the rounds for years, the catch is that you are required to put a sum of cash over to these people (who incidently you will never see again along with your cash) in order that they can bribe an official/pay someone off.
like any fraud it relies on the greed of the ‘victim’ and the ones which say the money is needed for a bribe probably wouldn’t get compalined about - who’s going to report themselves for doing something illegal.
Thing is there are so many of these things it does make you wonder if people are actually gullible enough or greedy enough to be taken in, I mean if there was no profit in it then people wouldn’t do it ?

I hear this explanation a lot, but it doesn’t make sense to me. How does simply knowing someone’s bank account number authorize you to withdraw money from it? If this really were possible then why waste time with this elaborate scam when you could simply look over someone’s shoulder at the bank, or guess the account numbers at random?

Funny thing, my local paper had a reporter look into it. The story ran on Monday.

Ah the Nigerian bank scam. This is a version of The Spanish Prisoner. The scammers make you think that they have something that you want (kidnap victim, antique, money, etc.) and basically convince you to ransom it with cash or information (convertible to cash) with one sob story excuse after another. You never get what you wanted because they never had it and never intended to give it to you.