The name comes from Section 419 of the Nigerian Criminal Code. This 419 Nigerian scam combines the threat of impersonation fraud with a variation of the advance fee scheme in which a email or fax is received by the unwitting victim. The email o fax states they are foreign government officials or a person in need of assistance and offers the victim the “opportunity” to share in a percentage of thousands or even millions of dollars, asking for help in placing large sums of money in overseas bank accounts. Bribes to government officials, Payment of taxes & legal fees are often spelled out in great detail with the promise that all expenses will be reimbursed as soon as the funds are out of the country. The recipient is encouraged to send information to the author, such as blank letterhead stationery, bank name and account numbers, and other identifying information using a fax number provided in the letter. The scheme relies on convincing the victim (you?) to send money to the author of the letter in several installments of increasing amounts for a variety of reasons.
Of course you will never get any of the money and in fact lose whatever amount you give. Do not be a victim!
The 419 Scam:
The scheme centers around receiving an email, fax, or even a letter usually written in capital letters. The author of the email says they are looking for a person who will transfer the funds into their account for a cut of the total–usually around 30 percent. You will be asked to travel to another country to meet with them and complete the paperwork.
In reality, there is no money–except for the money you put up in advance. You will be instructed to pay thousands of dollars in bribes, taxes, attorney costs or other expenses. You will only lose whatever monies you send. Victims who travel overseas may find themselves physically threatened and not allowed to leave until they “pay up”.