What is the Nigerian Scam

A Five Billion US$ (as of 1996, much more now) worldwide Scam which has run since the early 1980's under Successive Governments of Nigeria. It is also referred to as "Advance Fee Fraud", "419 Fraud" (Four-One-Nine) after the relevant section of the Criminal Code of Nigeria, and "The Nigerian Connection" (mostly in Europe). However, it is usually called plain old "419" even by the Nigerians themselves.

The target receives an unsolicited fax, email, or letter often concerning Nigeria or another African nation containing either a money laundering or other illegal proposal OR you may receive a Legal and Legitimate business proposal by normal means.

At some point, the victim is asked to pay up front an Advance Fee of some sort, be it an "Advance Fee", "Transfer Tax", "Performance Bond", or to extend credit, grant COD privileges, send back "change" on an overage cashier's check or money order, whatever. If the victim pays the Fee, there are often many "Complications" which require still more advance payments until the victim either quits, runs out of money, or both. If the victim extends credit on a given transaction etc. he may also pay such fees ("nerfund" etc.), and also stiffed for the Goods or Service with NO Effective Recourse.

What To Do If You Receive A Nigerian Scam

India has been bombarded with literally hundreds of thousands of these e-mails and actual letters. In the early days we had a few victims but through media attention and education programs most people have been advised that this is a scam and we have not had any vicitims in a very long time. We advise you to do the following.

  • As far as possible do not open the email or attachments sent.
  • Do not reply to the email or letter
  • Do not contact any person (s) mentioned in the email.
  • Send the email to fbro@nigeriapolice.org
- Contributed by Ankita Sinha