419 scams are a type of fraud and one of the most common types of confidence trick. The scam typically involves promising the victim a significant share of a large sum of money, which the fraudster requires a small up-front payment to obtain. If a victim makes the payment, the fraudster either invents a series of further fees for the victim, or simply disappears.
There are many variations on this type of scam, including advance-fee fraud, Fifo’s Fraud, Spanish Prisoner Scam, and the black money scam. The scam has been used with fax and traditional mail, and is now used with the Internet.
Online versions of the scam originate primarily in the United States, the United Kingdom and Nigeria, with Ivory Coast, Togo, South Africa, the Netherlands, and Spain also having high incidences of such fraud. The number „419” refers to the section of the Nigerian Criminal Code dealing with fraud.