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What Is Nigerian 419 Scam? Origin, How to Avoid 419 Scams

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Last Updated on February 13, 2023 by ANE Wiki

As a Nigerian, or even a non-Nigerian, you’ve probably one way or the other come across the term “419“. Oftentimes, when we come across this term “419”, it’s mostly related to scam cases. This because, it’s actually truly related to scam!

Yeah, we know you’re here because of the curiosity to know the real reason behind the popular tag for scam cases, “419”, and that exactly is what we shall be explaining to you in details right in here. Without no further ado, let’s dive right into it!

So What are ‘Nigerian 419’ scams?

The 419 scam originated in the early 1980s in Nigeria, and is named after a section of that country’s criminal code. This scam is no longer confined to Nigeria – 419 fraudsters are arrested throughout south Africa and around the world. how it works Today, 419 scams typically make use of the internet.

Hypothetically, it (419 scam) is a form of “advance-fee” fraud. Measured by monetary losses, 419 fraud is the
world’s most prevalent scam. You might wanna quickly check out Ways To Protect Your Bank Account From Scammers here.

A ‘419’scam is a form of upfront payment or money transfer scam. They are called 419 Nigerian scams because the first wave of them came from Nigeria, but they can come from anywhere in the world. The ‘4-1-9’ part of the name comes from the section of Nigeria’s Criminal Code which outlaws the practice.

These scams are also known to be called the Advance Fee Scam. The reason being that invariably, the victim is requested to make a payment in advance, in order to process the release of the funds from the foreign country/bank.

The scammers usually contact you by email or letter and offer you a share in a large sum of money that they want to transfer out of their country. They may tell you about money trapped in central banks during civil wars or coups, often in countries currently in the news. Or they may tell you about massive inheritances that are difficult to access because of government restrictions or taxes in the scammer’s country.

Scammers ask you to pay money or give them your bank account details to help them transfer the money. You are then asked to pay fees, charges or taxes to help release or transfer the money out of the country through your bank. These ‘fees’ may even start out as quite small amounts. If paid, the scammer will make up new fees that require payment before you can receive your supposed ‘reward’. They will keep making up these excuses until they think they have got all the money they can get out of you. You will never receive the money that was promised. Here’s a quick guide on how to Secure Your Cryptocurrency: Avoiding Scams.

Banks all over the world are targeted not only by phishers, but 419 scammers have also spotted the potential for drawing in victims using the name and details of well-known banks. The scam usually involves an account that has become dormant, due to its (non-existent) owner having died. The scammer’s mission, should they accept it, is to pretend to be a relative of the account holder and claim the money.

Warning signs | How It Works

Thing is, there are lot ways 419 scams can be performed, however, here are few;

  • Today, 419 scams typically make use of the internet. They commonly begin with an email with the aim of persuading the recipient to advance money to the sender, with the promise of a large future payoff. The author often claims to be royalty or fabulously wealthy, and promises large amounts of money if the sender will pay a small sum first, or forward their bank details. Be sure to also check out How to Avoid Being Scammed by Clients (The Right Way of Doing Business)
  • Perpetrators of the fraud advance a range of claims to explain why they need the recipient’s help: funds are said to be trapped in central banks due to political unrest; massive inheritances hard to access because of government restrictions or taxes; and so on.
  • Scammers ask the victim to pay fees and taxes, or give bank account details to help them transfer the money. These fees may initially be small amounts, but the scammer will keep requesting money and the victim will never receive the large “reward” promised.
  • You receive an offer out of the blue to ‘help’ someone from a foreign country to transfer money out of their country.
  • The offer sets out a long and often sad story about why the money cannot be transferred by the scammer. This usually involves an inheritance or profits from natural resources that the scammer might say they are trying to protect from taxes or a corrupt government.
  • You are offered a percentage of the total amount transferred in return for your assistance. The amount of money to be transferred, and the payment that the scammer promises to you if you help, is usually very large.
  • The email or letter is in a very polite tone, but often in broken English.

How to protect yourself from Nigerian 419 scams

  • If it looks too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Remember there are no get-rich-quick schemes, the only people who make money are the scammers.
  • Do not let anyone pressurize you into making decisions about money or investments. Always get independent financial and/or legal advice.
  • Do not open suspicious or unsolicited email (spam). Delete them.
  • Never reply to a spam email (even to unsubscribe).
  • The scam email will emphasize confidentiality and “risk-free” transactions.
  • Unknown sources of money and unrealistic value of funds are presented.
  • The letter often (but not always) contains grammatical errors.
  • Do not give out your bank details or reply to an email requesting such details.
  • Know who you are dealing with – research the company or person
  • Never send your personal, credit card or online account details through an email.
  • Money laundering is a criminal offence. Do not agree to transfer money for someone else. Don’t let the fact that a letter sounds enticing or genuine trick you.


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