Hundreds of Nigerians have been arrested by police, EFCC and ICPC, still internet fraud is still on the high level, Why?, Nigeria situation has made many to be hopeless and nothing is changing for good.

Before the technological innovation that brought about the Internet, the financial fraudsters popularly known as 419-ners were in operation in Nigeria especially in the commercial city of Lagos. They were mainly grown-up, educated and illiterate men and women, who specialised in using fax machines to defraud unsuspected foreigners and Nigerians.

In the early 90’s, they were the big men and women in the society. They commanded respect because of the enormous wealth at their disposal. Unfortunately for some of them like Emmanuel Nwude and others, they were arrested by the anti-graft agency, tried and convicted. They lost some of their assets to the anti-graft agency and have since been struggling for survival.

In recent times and with the coming of the Internet system, Nigerian youths especially, the undergraduates, have taken to the illicit trade called Internet scam. Investigations reveal that this development is responsible for drastic reduction in cultism in the higher institutions, as it has been overshadowed by widespread cyber fraud.

Popularly dubbed Yahoo boys, to perpetrate the crime, these youths often use yahoo free e-mail account. The fraudulent business became prevalent in Nigeria in 2000 with the accessibility of the Internet. Youths who engage in the fraud scam became rich overnight, with or without their parents’ knowledge. They owned expensive cars, houses, jewellery and more. They are highly respected and often initiate their peers into the scam.

According to Nigerian police statistics, thousands of undergraduates dabble in the Web fraud. A rich yahoo boy is a role model for the youth, they fancy his lifestyle and want to be like him. The only thing that disturbs them is how to make easy and quick money.

On how to start internet scam, a web designer and computer engineer, Mr Simon Okwu told The Guardian that Yahoo boys must have a computer, good phone and a stable Internet connection.

“There are plenty of examples of how to start a yahoo boy career on the Web. Therefore, young people quickly study all the ground rules. The best trick to start with is titled “Web freestyle”. Almost 99 per cent of yahoo boys started their careers from this fraud. You would register a private account on a popular dating website, fill in your profile, find an attractive photo, and wait till somebody falls in love with you. Subsequently, she or he will begin paying your bills and sending dollars to you.

“A yahoo boy should learn how to send fake messages to both social networks. It is a little risk field of a yahoo boy specialisation, which can bring real money. Yahoo boys don’t have morality. They usually stop at nothing to deceive people and pocket their money. Therefore, if you want to become a successful yahoo boy, you should learn how to beg, cry online, call for help in the written form. You must do everything so that people will believe you.

“Yahoo boys also professionally master another deception technique, which is called phishing. This method allows acquiring any person’s private data (passwords, usernames, and credit card data). Yahoo boys also master the ATM fraud technique. Con artists usually walk around ATM spots. Their clients are various vulnerable users- aged people, pregnant women, illiterate people, etc. When a yahoo boy finds his victim, he usually changes credit cards to deceive people. They usually work on weekends when banks are closed. Thus, until Monday morning victims will be unable to stop any illegal transactions performed by them. To become a successful yahoo boy in Nigeria, they usually find reliable allies in banking staff. These people are young and crucially in need of money. They usually help yahoo boys to commit frauds. Becoming a yahoo boy, one must forget about any opportunity to find a legal job. All your strength should be directed to finding new schemes of taking money from people via the Internet,” Okwu said.

Despite several arrests and convictions over the scam, Nigerian youths have continued to ply the trade in droves both at home and abroad. In March 19, 2014, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC) arrested four undergraduates and three others for alleged involvement in Internet scam.
 They were arrested in two different locations in Ibadan, Oyo State. They were arrested together at the Iyana Adeoyo Branch of a first generation bank in Dugbe, Ibadan, while they were collecting proceeds of scam via Western Union.

The arrest of the seven suspects followed intense surveillance by operatives of the Commission who had been on their trail for some time. One of the suspects admitted conning a white American lady, Sarah Jorth, in a romance scam. He said he used a false name (Vincente Marco) to deceive her into believing that he would marry her and in the process raked in more than $450,000.

Breeding A Booming Generation Of Scammers
MANY Nigerian families are happy that their children are attending institutions of higher learning across the country, which is good for them and ultimately the country.

But few mind the company they are and the company they keep. And most of this few don’t care how they get by or find out.These days, a large number of Nigeria’s dropouts, unemployed youths and undergraduates studying in the country, especially in the southern part, are turning out to be a generation of scammers and Internet fraudsters, known and unknown to their parents.

Unfortunately, this has encouraged many more to join, as those who have ‘made it’ or ‘hit it’ through scam sort of serve as role models in a recessed economy and a society of declining moral latitude, not minding, or rather, realising the bleak future their boom portends.

‘Big Boys’ Moving To Lekki
IN Lagos, those who have hit it big enough are fast relocating to Lekki, where they have houses that offer them some security, just as the environment keeps prying eyes and genuine security agents off their backs.In Lekki, most residents mind their businesses and care less about these rowdy and emerging big boys, so long as they are not “criminals’ or thieves and robbers.

And for these boys, it has become a safe haven, unlike in the less developed areas of the city, where they are constantly harassed for cash by security agents.Once any of them buys a house, his clique virtually relocate with him, of course, for ease of business. Soon, the highbrow Lekki will turn to scammers den, not haven, if the tide is not arrested. But how can that be?Some have even graduated to ‘Yahoo Plus’ by adding the use of charms to their games to hypnotise their victims.To evade being caught, the big ones among them who can afford it go for iPhones rather than android phones.

There Are Apprentices
COME to think of it: these emerging ‘big boys’ are gradually having ‘smaller boys’ or ‘apprentices’ under them.Ohima (surname withheld) had completed his secondary education two years ago in Lagos. He had written entrance examinations into the higher institutions twice without securing admission.

He lives with his parents. His father is a ‘businessman,’ while his mother is a trader and shop owner.One morning, he was asked what he was doing now, since he was yet to secure admission into the university or polytechnic.

His answer was simply: “I am learning work.” Probed further what kind of trade he was learning, presumably before he is able to secure admission, he walk away, saying: “Bros, I dey come.”

Further enquiries from his former friends and schoolmates showed that he had joined the ‘trade,’ with the knowledge and tacit approval of his parents.Two months later, Ohima was not doing badly for himself: He looks better fed and cared for, ostensibly from the ‘pay’ from the trade. And, of course, his circle of friends have changed, with some of them cruising in cars, and he is being envied by some of his former friends.


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