The money could be cash, gold bullion, blood diamonds, gold dust, checks etc.
The sums usually run up to millions of dollars with the victim being promised a huge chunk of it for their "help".
This is one of the most popular scams in online dating.
Nigeria and Ghana are notorious for their scammers and hence most people probably wouldn’t pursue a relationship with someone from one of these countries.
These scammers are well aware of this and therefore often pretend to be from the USA/ UK/ Australia/ Canada or some other Western country.
Similar to the Spanish prisoner scam where the scamster promises to share his fortunes with the victim in exchange for money to bribe the prison guards, the Nigerian 419 has fully come into its own thanks to the availability of email.
A scam victim will usually receive an email making an offer of a large sum of money.
At the end of the day they all have the same basic plot – there is an emergency and won’t you please send them some money?