The facts indicate that this is very likely to be a scam, specifically the type known as ‘advance-fee fraud’. That is because the victim is asked to make advance payments before anything they have been promised materialises.
As there are numerous variations of such scams, the best way to explain how they work is to identify certain 'red flags' which are often present in their build-up. The following are the most common ones:
- Someone contacts you and promises you a sum of money. You are unlikely to have ever been involved with the persons/organizations concerned so it would be unexpected. Also the email addresses from which they have contacted you are not official and not linked to the organizations in question
- Before you are able to receive the promised amount, you are asked to pay a sum of money. There are various reasons quoted for this, such as taxes, clearance fees, administrative costs, legal fees, etc. This is where the advance payment part of the scam comes in.
- Tempted by their promises, the requested fees are paid in good faith.
- However, once the money has been sent, the fraudsters either stop all contact and run away with your money, or they return and ask for further fees for different, often unexpected, reasons
In summary, if an unknown person contacts you out of the blue and promises you money but asks you to pay them something in advance, whatever the reasons, you basically know it is a scam. Avoid temptation, no matter how good it may sound and remember the old saying – ‘If it is too good to be true, it probably isn’t’.
The key now is to not proceed any further with this. Cease all communications with them and certainly do not send money if asked to, no matter what they say.