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.
Suspect you may be dealing with a Nigerian scammer?
Here is a wonderful list originally compiled by the Romancescams Yahoo group, but modified and extended by us.
25-80, but usually they search for middle-aged ladies - They have weird usernames containing "4real" or "4luv" - They say they are "God fearing" and search for "God fearing" - They always claim they are honest and caring, and their username often contain the words "honest" and "care" - Their first names are also weird, like Martins, Williams, Kevins, Waynes, etc...
(instead of Martin, William, Kevin, Wayne) - The women names are often misspelled, like Jenifer instead of Jennifer, Ashly instead of Ashley, or Marry instead of Mary.
An advance-fee scam is a form of fraud and one of the most common types of confidence trick.