The Nigerian Prince scam is an advance-fee form of fraud and one of the most common types of confidence trick. This scam claims a Nigerian Prince or other members of a royal family are seeking help to transfer large sums of money out of the country. The scam typically involves promising the victim a significant share of a large sum of money in return for a small up-front payment, which the fraudster requires in order to obtain the large sum. If a victim makes the payment, the fraudster either invents a series of further fees for the victim or simply disappears. These scams are sometimes called "Nigerian Prince emails."
While Nigeria is most often the nation referred to in these scams, they originate in other nations as well.
There are many variations on this type of scam, including the 419 scam, the Spanish Prisoner scam, the black money scam, Fifo's Fraud and the Detroit-Buffalo scam. 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.