I received a variant of the "pose as some deceased tycoon's next of kin and get rich" email messages today. This one purports to be from "Jubril Udeh Manager of Credit and Accounts Department of North Atlantic Securities Sarls Lome-Togo Republic" in regards to millions that belonged to the now deceased "Mr Levy Shimony a Lebanese Import and Export Tycoon here in Lome Togo." The message was purportedly sent to me because of my "high repute and trust worthiness", characteristics one supposes make me an ideal partner for participating in a fraudlent scheme where I would pose as the deceased's next of kin.
Are there people foolish enough to fall for such ruses? Unfortunately, the answer is "yes". There have apparently been quite a few people who have fallen for such scams. One I read about was an accountant for a law office who used her employer's funds to cover the scammer's "transaction fees". She apparently thought she could cover the money she took from her employer out of the large sum of money she was sure to receive. What she did receive was a prison sentence, since, of course, no funds were forthcoming from the scammer.
One recipient of one of these messages decided to scam the scammer. He actually got the scammer to send him money, which he donated to charity. For an amusing tale of how this scambaiter got the scammer to join his "Holy Church of The Order of The Red Breast", see The Tale of The Painted Breast.