The Nigerian Letter or “419” Scam – Don’t Fall For It!

This scam is listed on the FBI-IC3 website. The Nigerian Letter is listed as a current scam, and it is still being used today. It is named after the violation of Section 419 of the Nigerian Criminal Code. Let’s take a look at The Nigerian Letter or 419 scam.

The Nigerian Letter or 419 scam has been around for awhile. I can remember getting some of these letters, or ones similar in my e-mails years back And thinking to myself “Why would anyone give away millions” It just seemed to be too good to be true. Well, it was.

The Nigerian Letter Or 419 Scam And How It Works

The 419 scam is usually a two part scam. The first part involves some type of impersonation fraud. This is combined with a request of monies to be advanced to the impersonator.

Finally, the victim receives the letter, email or fax, with instructions. The victim is promised big sums of money after the alleged millions is transferred into foreign banks.

The whole scheme is illegal, because if the victim answers the letter, they are guilty of scheming along with the impersonator.

People Pose as Government Officials Often From Nigeria

The communication states that the impostor is a Nigerian or some other foreign government official. This tends to add some credibility to the offer. And it give the impression of someone who would have large sums of money or access of large sums.

The fake official is offering an “opportunity” for the recipient of the letter. The recipient will get to somehow share in a percentage of  millions of dollars. It is always somebody looking for help to move money, and in return will give away a fortune.The only obligation is for the victim, to send money for the taxes owed on the money. Then they will release large sums of money into your account.

All they have to do is agree to help move the money into overseas bank accounts. This is what these thieves want, your bank account numbers to clean out your account.

And, by doing this the victim is defrauding the Nigerian government, by not reporting the transfer. So, you will be charges with a crime as well! Avoid this letter!!

The Nigerian Letter Explains The Deal

The letter contains the details of how bribes will to be paid. Often a fee will be required to release the money.

The victims are told that all the money will be returned as soon as the funds are out of the country. This of course will never happen.

What will happen, is the thieves will get your account numbers and transfer your money to their account! Your money will be leaving this country!

The Account Information You Give Is The “419” Scam

The victim is told they will need information to transfer funds. This is all made to appear very real and legit. Forms are sent to victims to fill out that includes their bank account numbers. They include stationary that appears with a specific letterhead, and other identifying information. All to make the hoax appear real.

The Nigerian Letter

Once this is done, the form style letter is faxed to the impersonator. The victim thinks it is a legitimate form and fills out the information. Don’t let this be you!

The Illegal Scheme Is Responding To The Nigerian Letter

The scheme needs a person who is capable of committing larceny by responding to the impostors letter. Then, the illegal scheme eventually convinces the victim to send several payments for various reasons to complete the transactions. So, if you know that you have to be a criminal to participate, why would you do this?

Because most people don’t realize that participating in this scam is illegal. They are looking at it as a way to get rich quick. Well, it won’t make you rich and you can end up in jail.

The Money Doesn’t Exist

In reality, the millions don’t exist and the victim ends up losing everything. Eventually, the victim stops sending money. Then, the impostors drain the victims bank accounts and credit card balances. They accomplish this using the victims account information he provided.

People fall for this scam every year, don’t be fooled.

The Nigerian Letter- man typing

Millions Are Lost Every Year

Most honest law abiding Americans open their emails and laugh this one off. But, each year people comply with the scam. Millions are lost. Some victims have been know to fall for invitations to go to Nigeria. Unfortunately, they became captives against their will. This is in addition to losing huge sums of money. Can you imagine being held captive? Believe me, I am sure they also were trying to extort money from the victims family!

Do not fall for this! 

Section 419 Of Nigerian Code Used For 419 Name

The 419 Nigerian scam violates section 419 of the Nigerian criminal code. Unfortunately, the Nigerian government will not help people when this happens.The victims have violated Nigerian law by attempting to remove money from the country. So, the Nigerian government is not sympathetic towards the victims.

The fact is, participating in this, is a crime. Even though you received the letter inside your email box,  it is extortion. And you were willing to go along with it.  Nigeria does treat it as a crime, not a scam! Keep yourself safe and stay away.

Never give you account numbers to anyone through an email. always look up the correct number, and verify the person is real.

How To Avoid The Nigerian Letter Scam

The Nigerian Letter
  • Do not reply to any letter, email or fax you receive from Nigeria. And any other foreign officials or government asking for any personal information as well. This includes bank accounts, or credit card numbers. Immediately send the letter to the  U.S. Secret Service, your local FBI office, or the U.S. Postal Inspection service. You can also register a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission Assistant.
  • For emails sent to you asking you to send money or claiming you are to receive money. Ask a family member what they think?
  • Should you for any reason, feel it could be a scam, report it.  Contact the FBI-Report Threats and Crime division.
  • If you or anyone should get involved in one of these frauds, contact the FBI or U.S.Secret Service immediately.
  • Do not believe or trust anyone who claims to be a Nigerian or any other foreign government official who needs help to move money out of the country.
  • Never believe you will receive large sums of money for your corporation.
  • Be sure to protect your account information.

Stay Safe and Keep You Information Safe

Use common sense and think about what you are doing. Internet fraud and scams are increasing every year. The crooks are getting smarter and smarter all the time. Always ask family members and close friends you can trust what they think.Do not give any personal information to anyone, especially online.


If you have any comments or questions please leave them below. I answer all my readers.

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