Nigerian 419 Scams Explained

Nigerian scams are perhaps the best known examples of fraud on the internet. These have been around for quite some time and originally came to light in the 1980's. Nigerian scams are also known as 419 scams as this is the number given to the crime in Nigeria. All of these scams are examples of Advance Fee Frauds.

The Beginning

At the beginning of the scam, unsuspecting victims receive messages from con artists. These can be delivered through letters, emails, faxes or phone calls. Sending letters is known as a classic 419 scam because it is the first type that originated.

There are a number of different reasons to try and encourage you to pay an advance fee. These are normally something that is illegal like money laundering so that people don't go to the authorities when something goes wrong. They can also be in the form of importing products in some cases.

The Scam

The scammer may tell you that a family member has died leaving a large estate. They will then make up some amazing story telling you why they need your help to get it out of the country. Another type of scam is where the scammer tells you that you have won a foreign lottery competition.

These scammers are so kind that they will help you to collect your winnings. Or give you a cut of the funds when everything is transferred.

How The Scammers Make Money

The way that the scammers make money is by requesting fees up front. These fees will typically be for money transfer, handling or shipping fees. You will be requested to pay these fees before receiving your prize.

When you do pay these fees they will simply carry on trying to milk you for more and more money until you realize that you're never going to get any money from them. People are greedy and this makes it easy for these scams to work.

Avoiding These Scams

If anything sounds too good to be true then it almost certainly is. If you ever get told that you've won a lottery then calm down before you get too excited. Firstly, did you actually enter the lottery? How can you win a lottery you've never even heard of?

If there was a legitimate reason to transfer money to you then it would cost money. However, the money could be taken away from the money to be transferred to you. There would be no feasible reason to pay extra money up front.

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