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This trick was featured in the HBO series Deadwood, when Al Swearengen and E. Farnum trick Brom Garret into believing gold is to be found on the claim Swearengen intends to sell him. The Spanish Prisoner scam – and its modern variant, the advance-fee scam or "Nigerian letter scam".
In a twist on the Nigerian fraud scheme, the mark is told he is helping someone overseas collect debts from corporate clients.Many con men employ extra tricks to keep the victim from going to the police.A common ploy of investment scammers is to encourage a mark to use money concealed from tax authorities.The cheques are often completely genuine, except that the "pay to" information has been expertly changed.This exposes the mark not only to enormous debt when the bank reclaims the money from his account, but also to criminal charges for money laundering.In Romany, this trick is called bujo ("bag") after one traditional format: the mark is told that the curse is in his money; he brings money in a bag to have the spell cast over it, and leaves with a bag of worthless paper. This scam got a new lease on life in the electronic age with the virus hoax.
Fake anti-virus software falsely claims that a computer is infected with viruses, and renders the machine inoperable with bogus warnings unless blackmail is paid.
The victim sometimes believes he can cheat the con artists out of their money, but anyone trying this has already fallen for the essential con by believing that the money is there to steal (see also Black money scam).
Note that the classic Spanish Prisoner trick also contains an element of the romance scam (see below).
A grandparent gets a call or e-mail from someone claiming to be their grandchild, saying that they are in trouble abroad.
For instance, the scammer may claim to have been arrested and require money to be wired for bail, and asking that the victim doesn't tell the grandchild's parents, as they would "only get upset".
Large cheques stolen from businesses are mailed to the mark.