Nigerian Scam

Definition of 'Nigerian Scam'


A scam where the sender requests help in facilitating the transfer of a substantial sum of money, generally in the form of an email. In return, the sender offers a commission, usually in the range of several million dollars. The scammers then request that money be sent to pay for some of the costs associated with the transfer. If money is sent to the scammers, they will either disappear immediately or try to get more money with claims of continued problems with the transfer.

Also known as "advance fee fraud" and the "419 fraud."

Investopedia explains 'Nigerian Scam'


This specific type of scam is generally referred to as the Nigerian scam because of its prevalence in the region, particularly during the 1990s. There is also a section of the Nigerian criminal code, Section 419, that makes this type of fraud illegal. However, this scam is not limited to Nigeria and is also perpetrated by many organizations in many different countries around the world. The origins of this scam are widely debated with some suggesting it started in Nigeria during the 1970s, while others suggest its origins go back hundreds of years to other confidence scams such as the Spanish prisoner scam.

The scammers hope that the commission offered will be enticing enough to compel the recipient to take the risk of sending thousands of dollars to a stranger. The reasons given for the transfer can differ from a government freezing an account to the existence of an account with no beneficial owner. When it comes to this type of request, however, it is important to remember that if anything sounds too good to be true - it usually is.

Warnings signs of a Nigerian scam include a U.S. currency account in a foreign country, odd spelling and language in the body of the email and a promise of substantial compensation for little effort.



comments powered by Disqus
Hot Definitions
  1. Passive ETF

    One of two types of exchange-traded funds (ETFs) available for investors. Passive ETFs are index funds that track a specific benchmark, such as a SPDR. Unlike actively managed ETFs, passive ETFs are not managed by a fund manager on a daily basis.
  2. Walras' Law

    An economics law that suggests that the existence of excess supply in one market must be matched by excess demand in another market so that it balances out. So when examining a specific market, if all other markets are in equilibrium, Walras' Law asserts that the examined market is also in equilibrium.
  3. Market Segmentation

    A marketing term referring to the aggregating of prospective buyers into groups (segments) that have common needs and will respond similarly to a marketing action. Market segmentation enables companies to target different categories of consumers who perceive the full value of certain products and services differently from one another.
  4. Effective Annual Interest Rate

    An investment's annual rate of interest when compounding occurs more often than once a year. Calculated as the following:
  5. Debit Spread

    Two options with different market prices that an investor trades on the same underlying security. The higher priced option is purchased and the lower premium option is sold - both at the same time. The higher the debit spread, the greater the initial cash outflow the investor will incur on the transaction.
  6. Odious Debt

    Money borrowed by one country from another country and then misappropriated by national rulers. A nation's debt becomes odious debt when government leaders use borrowed funds in ways that don't benefit or even oppress citizens. Some legal scholars argue that successor governments should not be held accountable for odious debt incurred by earlier regimes, but there is no consensus on how odious debt should actually be treated.
Trading Center