The scam messages often claim to originate in Nigeria, but usually this is not true.The number "419" refers to the section of the Nigerian Criminal Code dealing with fraud, the charges and penalties for offenders.
Yet other variants have involved mention of a Nigerian prince or other member of a royal family seeking to transfer large sums of money out of the country—thus, these scams are sometimes called "Nigerian Prince emails".
While Nigeria is most often the nation referred to in these scams, they may originate in other nations as well.
Some scammers have accomplices in the United States and abroad that move in to finish the deal once the initial contact has been made.
purportedly sent to a selected recipient but actually sent to many, making an offer that would allegedly result in a large payoff for the victim.
The scam has been used with fax and traditional mail, and is now prevalent in online communications like emails.