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An insider's look at the rise of Nigerian 419 scams

Richard G. Brody (Department of Accounting, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA)
Sara Kern (School of Business Administration, Gonzaga University, Spokane, Washington, USA)
Kehinde Ogunade (Department of Accounting, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA)

Journal of Financial Crime

ISSN: 1359-0790

Article publication date: 27 January 2020

Issue publication date: 10 January 2022




The purpose of this study is to examine and provide additional insights into Nigerian 419 scams. Such scams may also be referred to as advance fee frauds. This study not only provides a historical perspective as to why these scams continue to remain popular and successful but also addresses cultural issues and technological issues associated with this type of fraud.


The analysis is primarily conceptual, focusing on the historical underpinnings of 419 scams as well as changes that have occurred as a result of technological advancements. Further, an active Nigerian scammer agreed to be interviewed by one of the authors and the information has been incorporated into this paper.


Fraudsters in Nigeria use a more “scientific” approach to identifying victims. The Government of Nigeria has been implementing some new policies and techniques to identify these fraudsters as well as to attempt to curtail such fraudulent activities. Unfortunately, these attempts have had limited success and more will be needed to slow down 419 scammers. The total elimination of such scams is unlikely.


Although many 419 scams have been reported in the news, actual studies in this area are quite limited. Further, current research has not produced comprehensive papers that focus on why these frauds ever started, how they have developed over time and how technology has impacted such frauds. This paper is among the first to include “inside” information from an actual Nigerian scammer and thus adds significant value to the existing literature.



Brody, R.G., Kern, S. and Ogunade, K. (2022), "An insider's look at the rise of Nigerian 419 scams", Journal of Financial Crime, Vol. 29 No. 1, pp. 202-214.



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