Ghanaian School Competition Uses Nigeria as a Reference for Fraud
In the competition, students were made to answer questions that had to do with intelligent reasoning.
The moderator while posing her question to students of Kumasi Academy, asked them questions that had 419 as the answer, but with Nigeria as a pointer to arrive at the final answer.
419 in Nigeria, is an old-term used to reference Advanced Fee Fraud and it was so rampant before the advent of the internet.
According to Longman Dictionary, 419 is defined as
An illegal way of getting money from someone by sending them an email promising that they will make a lot of money if they invest in a business activity which does not really exist SYN advance fee fraud
Giving a more detailed explanation, whatismyipaddress.com defined 419 as:
An advance-fee fraud, also known as a 419 fraud, is a type of scam in which the victim is convinced to advance money to a stranger. In all such scams, the victim is led to expect that a much larger sum of money will be returned to him or her. The victim, of course, never receives any of this money.
Those who fall for an advance-fee fraud and forward money to the criminal are likely to be targeted for additional payments. That is, the criminal may claim that a second or third advance is necessary before the victim will be entitled to receive the promised money.
An Early Version of the 419 Scam
As far back as 17th century, an early version of this fraud was in use in Europe. Known as the Spanish Prisoner fraud, the scam in that case consisted of a correspondence in which the criminal would claim to be a prisoner who knows where some buried treasure is located. The “prisoner” would ask for money to bribe the prison guards so that he could escape and get to the treasure. In return for such money, the “prisoner” would promise to share the treasure with the target of the scam.
In reality, the “prisoner” was not in jail at all and was simply using the story as a way to get his hands on the target’s money.