The 419 Scam (also known as the “Nigerian letter”) is a form of fraud in which fraudsters convince their victim to make a small payment in exchange for a promise of a much larger sum in the future. This scheme, which is carried out mainly through correspondence or phone calls, was named after the relevant section of the Nigerian penal code, where it first became widespread.
Such schemes usually begin with an offer to help “unlock” or “transfer” a large sum of money. In return, the potential victim is promised a portion of the money. Once the victim agrees to help, they are asked to pay various “fees” or “taxes” required to complete the transaction. Once these payments are made, the scammers disappear, leaving the victim penniless.
Since this type of fraud first emerged in Nigeria, it has spread to other countries, especially in Africa. With the advancement of technology, the 419 Scam has become even more widespread through the use of email and other forms of online communication.