We've all seen these in our email, probably the junk folder, those letters you get from someone who seems like a government or bank official notifying you of a large payoff.

Can you believe some people actually take the bait?

Author Will Ferguson has studied so-called "419" or "Nigerian" scams, he says never ever reply to them.  Doing so just opens the door for crooks.

"They do this mass mailing, a million emails, and get one or two responses," Ferguson tells KTRH News.  "And with Facebook, blogs, and the Internet today you can easily put together a pretty solid profile."

The scammer will then continue emailing you, making up stories about knowing or meeting someone you associate with while on vacation in Europe or elsewhere.

"What struck me is how many times the victims end up sending tens of thousands of dollars, in one case $200,000, often it started with them replying to an email, not saying yes, but saying no, or you have the wrong person," he says.

One variation of this is the so-called "love scam" which targets lonely women.

"They don't ask for money, they make them fall in love over the Internet, and then they get into an accident," says Ferguson.  "These women are invested emotionally, and will end up throwing money after money after money."

That's why Ferguson says hitting the delete button is your best bet.

"If they're asking for money up front, it’s almost guaranteed to be a scam," he says.  "If it sounds too good to be true, there's a reason."

"Why do they want to put millions of dollars into my account?  Why would they trust me?" Ferguson asks.  "It's a play on human hope and greed."

Like most international scams, once that money is wired overseas, you'll likely never get it back.