Various types of common email and online scams
1) Dying-of-cancer childless widow who wants to give away millions to an overseas partner and trusts you implicitly because she is praying god-fearing woman and quickly passes you onto her barrister so he can explain all the fees and costs the overseas partner must pay in cash at Western Union.
2) Sexy, beautiful female 20-something year old orphan with millions in the bank trapped in a refugee camp with constant internet access that sends dozens of gorgeous pictures of herself scantly clad and you must financially assist her in getting her hands on her dead parent's bank account by emailing her barrister/banker/minister fast before the lecherous camp men or murderous relatives get their hands on her and her bank account.
3) Online seller or buyer who demands you use this 'completely trust-worthy' courier company that only accepts payment via Western Union according to their 1 month old crappy website hosted overseas that is full of misspelled words, strange grammar, terrible syntax and non-functioning links.
4) Fake job printing, mailing or cashing checks/money orders.
5) Fake job accepting always-pending bank deposit or spoofed pay pal transfer and Western Unioning your cash to the scammer.
6) Bank official who found dormant bank account of long-dead millionaire and needs a stranger to help transfer the millions overseas by asking said stranger to pay court costs, document fees, stamp duties, barrister expenses, banks charges all while said stranger opens a new bank account and gives the banker enough personal information to have their identity stolen.
7) Millionaire can't pay their bills so needs a stranger to pay demmurage fees at non-existent storage company to move trunk boxes of cash/gold/jewels from some mysterious overseas location that doesn't have an address due to security issues, right to your doorstep by some never-heard-of courier company.
8) Business that is expanding too rapidly in this world-wide Great Recession to hire a certified accountant so randomly emails strangers to handle their money instead and implicitly trusts said stranger to cash checks, keep 5-10% and Western Union the rest to someone else, even though that business person has no idea from where the check was sent, what bank it was drawn on, how much it is for or even what the sender's name on the envelope is.
9) "Well-established" charity that needs strangers off the internet to handle their donation checks in order to dodge government taxes/fees or to quickly cash those pesky overseas checks that no local bank will handle.
10) FedEx/UPS/DHL/any courier/shipping company has your email address in order to demand payment by Western Union for fees to transport some check/cheque worth millions yet has no idea what your name, address or phone number is and can't accept any payment by account number, check, credit card like their website says and instead must be to be paid only in cash via Western Union or moneygram.
11) Pay the taxes on major corporation secret lottery that your email address was mysteriously entered without your knowledge and you won but that huge corporation can't accept any kind of payment except for Western Union or moneygram and said company is using gmail, hotmail, whatever free email company is available in that area.
12) Pay fees, taxes, insurance and courier expenses for ATM card loaded with millions of dollars that you can withdrawal at $5,000 a day instead of actual legal limit of $300 per day, but you have to give your name, address and phone number to the reimbursement committee that has your email address but no other information as to who you are, what you supposedly lost to previous scammers or where you live.
13) Religious group or company needs lodging for a group for week or 2, demands entire cost calculated and overcharged on a credit card with the 'excess' money sent onto a translator or transportation company via Western Union.
14) Large group books lodging, pays by check/money order but tragedy strikes and some are injured/killed, so that group must have the excess money returned immediately via Western Union as their organization was originally able to pay for the trip but now is in serious financial straits and has to have the cash returned via only Western Union, all before the check clears.
15) Tutor, instructor, teacher, self-employed independent contractor contacted by someone who claims to be a primary English speaker but who writes extremely poorly and can only write one single check in their lifetime so wants to overpay for months of services by check/money order/credit card and have tutor forward the extra cash via Western Union to minor's guardian or landlord or anyone else because the self employed person is trusted completely with thousands of someone else's money.
16) Unsoliciated email or Website offering cheap electronics shipped for free internationally by every known shipping company without any customs or duty fees and lists Western Union, moneygram or bank transfer as payment options.
17) Victim's reparations/refund/repayment fund from FBI/ECC/some government agency that is taking their time from chasing criminals to email someone they claim to know was a prior victim yet asks for said victim's name and address then goes on to say that for just a 'one-time only small' fee paid via Western Union you will receive tens of thousands of dollars.
18) Military person has found millions in cash that can't be moved without your help and your cash to pay courier fees by Western Union.
19) Already crated mint condition vehicle being sold on the internet for way less than blue book value by divorcing/moving/deployed overseas person instead of selling it locally so no one can ever see the vehicle in person before purchasing as only professional glossy magazine quality photos are posted and the seller demands you use some escrow or ebay buyer's protection program or paypal security type program that uses a free email address and insists you send the Western Union MTCN# and question/answer before shipping the vehicle to your doorstep for absolutely no shipping fee.
20) Overseas company is unable to post all their electronics on ebay so needs honest strangers to post the stock pictures for them, collect the paypal payments, withdrawal the cash and send it back to the overseas company via Western Union while the overseas company is suppose to ship the purchased goods but instead, that company disappears so now the ebay seller has to refund all purchases with their own cash.
There are many more scams, this is just a short list of some of the most common and there are tons of variations.
The biggest 'rule of thumb' to follow is if any company, charity, website or new person in your life ever mentions the words Western Union or moneygram in anyway whats-so-ever, then you have found a scam run by a scammer.