Nigeria’s “419 scam” is one of the most infamous phishing scams out there and according to a report by Dutch financial intelligence organization Ultrascan-AGI, India is one of the most affected nations. In 2013 alone, Indians were duped into sending over $870 million to the scammers.
“India is among the top five growing markets for Nigerian advance fee frauds (AFF or the technical name for 419 scamming),” Frank Engelsman, director of Ultrascan AGI, told Hindustan Times in an e-mail.
The nefarious scam sends emails to victims promising big returns in return for an immediate down payment. The 419 scam gets its name from the postal code of a place in Nigeria where the scam originated. The report estimates that the scammers are targeting 69 countries around the world and recently have increasingly targeted Asian countries like Malaysia, China, South Korea, Vietnam and India and Saudi Arabia.
In India alone, the report estimates that there are nearly 4,700 scammers active, which is a 20-fold increase from 2006. The report mentions that globally people lost $12.77 billion to the scammers last year, of which Indians lost more than $870 million.