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In exchange for transferring the funds out of Nigeria, the recipient would keep 30% of the total.
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.
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.
Some scammers have accomplices in the United States and abroad that move in to finish the deal once the initial contact has been made.
This scam usually begins with the perpetrator contacting the victim via email, instant messaging or social media using a fake email address or fake social media account and making an offer that would allegedly result in a large payoff for the victim.