Nigerian Letter (or 419 scam)

Thousands of consumers every year receive what appears to be a tantalizing business opportunity from a stranger, normally in a foreign country. This person claims to have a fortune that he’s willing to share with the consumer, if he can only get some help smuggling the money out of the country.

The sum is usually in the tens of millions, and the writer offers to share 10 percent or so with the consumer. This is always a scam. Most believe it originated in Nigeria, where it is known as the 419 scam, named after a section of Nigeria’s fraud statutes. However, the scammer may claim to be anywhere, not necessarily Nigeria.

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