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Loyola University Chicago

University Information Security Office

Nigeria 419 scam

What is a Nigeria 419 scam?

A Nigeria 419 scam is a type of scam known as an advance fee fraud. It is associated with Nigeria because many of these scams originate there, and the government has been lax in enforcing section 419 of their penal code, which covers these crimes.

The general format of a Nigeria 419 scam is as follows:

  1. You will receive an email (or instant message or fax) from someone you've never met asking for assistance in moving a large amount of money from one country (usually an African country) to another.
  2. The sender will promise you a substantial cut of the money to assist in moving the money.
  3. The sender will make promises about how quickly the money will be moved, if you will provide them with money to cover a few expenses, or the routing information to your bank account.
    The money requested is the "advance fee" portion of the advance fee fraud.
  4. If you send money, the sender will keep coming up with excuses as to why they have not completed the transaction. At this point, the sender is simply trying to defraud you of as much money as possible. It is almost impossible to recover any money sent over.
  5. In some variations of the scheme, the sender will attempt to get you to enter Nigeria to finish the transaction, which is really just an attempt to get you into Nigeria and possibly into harm's way as you are physically threatened unless you provide additional funds.

What should I do if I receive a Nigeria 419 scam?

There are several choices available to you, listed below in order of simplicity:

  1. Delete the message.
  2. Mark the sender as a spam sender.
  3. Forward the message to the abuse department of the sending domain. For example, if you received an email from Nigeria419Scammer@yahoo.com, forward the message to abuse@yahoo.com. All domains should have an abuse account set up to receive abuse complaints.

I received a similar request, but it is from someone in a country other than Nigeria. What should I do?

As more and more people become aware of Nigeria 419 scams, the scammers pretend that they are from other countries, typically in Africa or the Middle East. Because they primarily communicate via email and receive funds via money orders, they can often easily pretend to be in a country other than the one they are actually in. Most Nigeria 419 scams originate from within Nigeria because of the government's poor enforcement efforts. However, similar scams can operate out of any country. As always, be extremely cautious when you encounter an opportunity that sounds too good to be true. In almost all cases, they are.

Loyola

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