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updated 4/19/2011 8:49:08 AM ET 2011-04-19T12:49:08

Nigerian cyberscammers are trying to win over the wallets of sympathetic and gullible victims by posing as Safia Gadhafi, the wife of Libyan ruler Muammar Gadhafi, and offering a multimillion-dollar prize to help her escape a tortured marriage.

In an email spotted by The Register, a person posing as Safia Farkash Gadhafi explains that she has been “brutally abused in my husband’s house ever since I married him and I have been looking for a way out of the marriage.”

Mrs. Gadhafi, the phony email explains, supports the uprising against her husband, but cannot express her allegiance for fear of death.

You, the recipient of this earnest email, can help Mrs. Gadhafi escape her horrid situation, and even receive 40 percent of a $25.7 million fortune she’s stolen from her husband’s “underground safe.” All you have to do is send an email back to safia_farkash@rocketmail.com agreeing to use your name as the depositor of the fund.

“This transaction is 100% safe on your side,” the so-called "Mrs. Gadhafi" explains.

Of course this is as phony as the typical Nigerian 419 scam, which promises a cut of a large fortune — usually from a Nigerian prince — in exchange for an upfront fee.

In recent months, it seems Nigerian cybergangs have branched out a bit, and employed some new social engineering tactics. Although this particular Libyan-themed fraud seems easily avoidable, Nigerian cybercriminals were recently able to bilk a British woman out of $130,000 by posing as a U.S. soldier stationed in Iraq.

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