This has been a lesson in internet safety. We can learn several things from it.
Number 1 – most of this scammers come from far away countries like Ghana, Nigeria and such. The reason is because people are usually not aware of the current political situation in those countries which gives the scammers a significant advantage.
Number 2 – they move fast. Emailing is usually done by a list of names, obtained through the Internet and so they send out mails at random, hoping for a fish to catch a hook. This happens in a matter of hours or days since they do not want “the fish” to talk to a lawyer or a banker which would tell them not to send any personal or banking information.
Number 3 – once you divulge certain information like the location of your stay or your address and bank account number, there is nothing you can do to prevent them from ripping you off. Here you can find an interesting and a wholesome article on the matter (in slovene only).
Number 4 – Here you have some reference links
Number 5 – always check the email addresses they use for contact. This guy was using a yahoo address and the address I was suppose to email my information was firstname.lastname@example.org. If you check the last part of this address (which is supposed to be Barclay association ) you will see that it comes back empty. If you run the phone number (233 243331032) through Google, you will find out that it comes back with another ghana scammer. The name changes, the title and the bank does not.
Remark (3.1.2012): Barclays Bank has an Online Fraud Advice Center where you can get more information about how to handle yourself in such cases.