An Appraisal Of Nigeria Criminal Code Section 419
A 419 scam is a scam perpetrated from Nigeria in which a letter, fax, or email is sent to someone in the United States (or other countries, usually in Europe). The person who receives the letter is informed that he or she could receive a significant sum of money for “helping” someone to get funds out of Nigeria. There are different possible scenarios that explain why the letter recipient needs to help. For example, the recipient of the letter may be told:
- There is unclaimed money or gold that the letter sender needs help accessing.
- A stolen fortune has been amassed and the sender of the letter needs help getting it out of the country.
- A corporate or government official has embezzled funds and must get the money out of the country.
- Money has been won or inherited, but the letter sender needs help getting it out of the country.
In virtually every case, the person who receives the letter is promised they will be handsomely rewarded for helping the sender to move large sums of money- which does not actually exist. The recipient of the letter may be asked to pay fees in advance (usually referred to a taxes on the money or bribes to foreign officials) or may be asked to provide bank and financial information, which can then be used in identity theft. The recipient may even be forwarded a fraudulent check and asked to deposit it and then forward some of the funds, keeping the rest for himself. The money that is to be forwarded is wired before it becomes clear that the initial check was not a legitimate one.