South African Switch
The South African Switch is a type of con in which the suspects generally play the part of an ignorant visitor from a foreign county. The suspect typically uses an accent and fumbles with their English.
After the suspect targets a victim for help in finding a non-existent location such as a church, hotel, business, etc.
The suspect then shows the victim an official looking letter allegedly written to them by an Insurance Company or an Attorney indicating that they have been awarded a large sum of money or a large settlement of some type.
They will also show the victim other bogus letters that appear official indicating that they cannot take money back into their country from where they came because they would be considered a revolutionary. They would then be jailed and the money confiscated.
The letter generally states that they should "donate the money to some worthwhile cause" in America.
Suspects of this type of scam have been known to produce newspaper clippings stating the turmoil occurring in their country to add validity to their scheme.
The objective of this scheme is to convince the victim (generally an elderly victim) that they are going to give him the money to distribute to charity and will also allow the victim to keep a portion for their troubles.
Before doing so the victim must withdraw some of his own money from the bank to show that he is trustworthy and will not steal the suspects money. This is referred to as "an act of good faith."
Once the victim makes the withdrawal of funds from his/her bank the suspects will use some type of distraction and disappear with the victim's money.