What is Nigerian 419 spam and how does it work?

wiseGEEK Writing Contest

The Nigerian 419 spam is the fifth to largest industry in Nigeria and a five billion dollar worldwide scam which has run since the 1980's under succesive governments of Nigeria.Also referred to as the advance fee fraud.Money stolen from this are almost never recovered recovered.It is Nigeria's biggest source of overseas currency which is why the government will not act on the ones who commit them. In Nigeria only the wealthy have computers in their homes so the ones who are typing you these fake emails are doing so from an internet cafe. There they can pay a dollar for an hours worth of use, get free email accounts and not be traced. Be leary if you receive an email that seems to be from a lonely old lady who wants to give you her life savings, from the desk of or some government official.Or if you receive an email saying something about someone having stocks in oil or sell something such as on Ebay and you receive a check for way more than what you are charging and they want you to deposit the check and send them the remaining balance.They will ask for your personal information and promise to give you millions of dollars if you will just deposit the money in your bank account. If you do fall for the scam the check may even clear the bank but later on it will come back as fraud and you are the one left holding the bag.

This submission was not accepted into the wiseGEEK Writing Contest because it answers a question already answered on wiseGEEK.

submitted by Nigerian 419 Scam