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The scam has been used with fax and traditional mail, and is now prevalent in online communications like emails.

The number "419" refers to the section of the Nigerian Criminal Code dealing with fraud, the charges and penalties for offenders.

To help persuade the victim to agree to the deal, the scammer often sends one or more false documents bearing official government stamps, and seals.

419 scammers often mention false addresses and use photographs taken from the Internet or from magazines to falsely represent themselves.

For example, in 2006, 61% of Internet criminals were traced to locations in the United States, while 16% were traced to the United Kingdom and 6% to locations in Nigeria.

One reason Nigeria may have been singled out is the apparently comical, almost ludicrous nature of the promise of West African riches from a Nigerian prince.

While Nigeria is most often the nation referred to in these scams, they may originate in other nations as well.Once the victim's confidence has been gained, the scammer then introduces a delay or monetary hurdle that prevents the deal from occurring as planned, such as "To transmit the money, we need to bribe a bank official. " or "For you to be a party to the transaction, you must have holdings at a Nigerian bank of 0,000 or more" or similar.This is the money being stolen from the victim; the victim willingly transfers the money, usually through some irreversible channel such as a wire transfer, and the scammer receives and pockets it.In that con, businessmen were contacted by an individual allegedly trying to smuggle someone connected to a wealthy family out of a prison in Spain.In exchange for assistance, the scammer promised to share money with the victim in exchange for a small amount of money to bribe prison guards.

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