Also known as the Nigerian letter scam, 419 fraud is one of the most common scams on the internet—and one you’ve likely seen in your own inbox. The advance fee scheme takes its name after the section of the Nigerian criminal code that outlaws fraud.17 According to the FBI, more than 14,600 people reported falling victim to advance fee scams in 2019. Collectively, they lost $100.6 million, or roughly $6,800 each.7

The scammer usually claims to be a member of a wealthy Nigerian or another West African family, reaching out to you personally after the death of a loved one. They seek to relocate a large fortune out of the country for safekeeping purposes and into your bank account. The catch? You must submit small payments for fees in return for a large chunk of their cash cache.18

You should never respond to these requests or volunteer your bank details. Any correspondence should be sent to the FBI,19 the U.S. Postal Inspection Service,20 the U.S. Secret Service, or the Federal Trade Commission.21

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *