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Meanwhile, the criminals can collect the information you supplied and use it to hijack your Facebook and email accounts.Once they have gained access, they can use the compromised accounts to launch further spam and scam campaigns, including more Facebook phishing scams like the ones we are discussing here.While Nigeria is most often the nation referred to in these scams, they may originate in other nations as well.For example, in 2006, 61% of Internet criminals were traced to locations in the United States, while 16% were traced to the United Kingdom and 6% to locations in Nigeria.So, alas, there is a never ending supply of naive and inexperienced users that Facebook scammers can target at will.Here I summarise four scams that target Facebook users around the world every hour of every day. But, what about your friends, family members and work colleagues?

According to Cormac Herley, a researcher for Microsoft, "By sending an email that repels all but the most gullible, the scammer gets the most promising marks to self-select." In Nigeria, scammers use computers in Internet cafés to send mass emails promising potential victims riches or romance, and to trawl for replies.

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.

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.

If a victim makes the payment, the fraudster either invents a series of further fees for the victim, or simply disappears.

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