What is “Nigerian 419” or the Generic 419 scams?

How does the scam work?

The scammers usually contact you by email or letter that offers you a share in a large sum of money that they want to transfer out of a country. They may tell you about money trapped in central banks during civil wars or coups, or names of similar surnames to their target client that had passed (died) in the source country. The scam normally targets countries with ongoing conflicts or in the national news. In some cases the scammer may tell you about massive inheritances that are difficult to access because of government restrictions or taxes in the originating country and needs your help for a percentage of the money.

The scammers usually 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 makes up new fees that require payment before you can receive your “reward”. They will keep making up these excuses until they think they have got all the money they can out of you. You will never be sent the money that was promised. Never travel to any place to meet these scammers, they are criminals and capable of inflicting physical harm.


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