We all see the term “419 scam” thrown around, but where does it actually come from?  Its roots are in the Nigerian criminal code, specifically section 419.  Below is that section, as taken from http://www.nigeria-law.org/Criminal%20Code%20Act-Part%20VI%20%20to%20the%20end.htm

419.         Any person who by any false pretence, and with intent to defraud, obtains from any other person anything capable of being stolen, or induces any other person to deliver to any person anything capable of being stolen, is guilty of a felony, and is liable to imprisonment for three years.

If the thing is of the value of one thousand naira or upwards, he is liable to imprisonment for seven years.

It is immaterial that the thing is obtained or its delivery is induced through the medium of a contract induced by the false pretence.

419A.       Any person who by any false pretence or by means of any other fraud obtains credit for himself or any other person-

 (a)            in incurring any debt or liability; or

 (b)            by means of an entry in a debtor and creditor account between the person giving and the person receiving credit, is guilty of a felony and is liable to imprisonment for three years.

  (2)           The offender cannot be arrested without warrant unless found committing the offence.

419B.       Where in any proceedings for an -offence under section 419 or 419A it is proved that the accused-

 (a)            obtained or induced the delivery of anything capable of being stolen; or

 (b)      obtained credit for himself or any other person, by means of a cheque that, when presented for payment within a reasonable time, was dishonoured on the ground that no funds or insufficient funds were standing to the credit of the drawer of the cheque in the bank on which the cheque was drawn, the thing or its delivery shall be deemed to have been obtained or induced, or the credit shall he deemed to have been obtained, by a false pretence unless the court is satisfied by evidence that when the accused issued the cheque he had reasonable grounds for believing, and did in fact believe, that it would be honoured if presented for payment within a reasonable time after its issue by him.