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What is 419: the Nigerian Scam?

By Sorin Mihailovici
Scam in progress
Scam in progress

Every year, more than 50,000 people worldwide fall victim to the Nigerian Scam. Usually contacted by e-mail about a business proposal or winning a lottery, the victims lose their life savings after they are persuaded by stories with very tempting outcomes.

According to some reports, the scam is the third most lucrative industry in Nigeria, generating over 5 billion dollars in the last 20 years. Authorities have named the scam after the number of the article in the Nigerian constitution that deals with the matter - 419.

For the last few months, a filmmaking team from Canada produced a movie, showing how the e-mail scam works. As far as we know, this is the first movie ever made on this topic - but if there are some other ones, please let us know.

The Internet is flooded with e-mails promising money-making business proposals, lottery win notifications, and fabulous inheritances. This is the story of how one man's involvement with such an Internet scam ruined his life. The inclusion of real correspondence with the scammers gives an added level of realism to this shocking film - a dramatic piece about a human journey, hope, values of life, and awareness.

“My best friend lost all his savings after being victimized,” says Sorin Mihailovici, producer and director of “419: The Nigerian Scam”. “I will never forget for the rest of my life the look on his face and the ordeal he went through. His tragedy inspired me to create this movie”, said Mihailovici, who decided to protect his friend's identity.

"After the movie got international attention I received a ton of messages asking me if I am giving anything to the victim who inspired this movie. I was overwhelmed by the amount of people who suggested that. The price of the movie is not that high anyway so I decided that starting November 1 all the proceeds will go to him. He doesn't know it yet but at the end of the month I will go to him with a check. It probably won't be that much but that will be my way of saying thanks for what he did for me. I got my name out there and that's enough for me. Every little helps for him right now", added Mihailovici.

The producer went a step beyond in the movie, using real documents from the correspondence with the scammers. You can see one of these documents in the trailer, at 00:54.

“419: The Nigerian Scam” is an educational (how to avoid all kinds of offers and Internet deals) and a dramatic story – a must-see movie.

Stay tuned for the Q&A nest wek