What Nigerians lose yearly to cybercrime
By Adetokunbo Abiola
The Chief Executive Officer of Global Network for Cyber Solution, a non-government and non-profit organization, Segun Olugbile said cyber spammers, otherwise called Yahoo boys, make an annual income of N10 billion in Nigeria, of which the banking sector is said to be worst hit, losing about N7.8 billion to the scourge.
According to the EFCC, in 2014 alone, customers in Nigeria lost about N6 billion to cyber criminals. Banks in Nigeria have lost approximately N159 billion to electronic frauds and cyber-crimes between 2000 and 2013.
Other authorities say Nigeria records about N127 billion loss annually to cyber-crime, with the country ranking third in global internet crimes, coming after United States of America and United Kingdom respectively.
You would think that after decades of analyzing and fighting e-mail scams, there’d be a fix by now for the internet’s oldest hustle—the Nigerian Prince scam. But this is far from the case.
This reporter learned Nigerian scammers will send tailored phishing emails to a company to get someone to click a link and infect their computer with malware. Eventually the scammers will settle on a tactic; they may impersonate someone within the company and attempt to initiate a payment, or they might pretend to be a company the victim contracts with and send the target an innocuous-looking invoice to pay. The end result of it is money in the bank for the scammers.
In the eighties and nineties Nigerian scammers attacked individuals, but since many have wizened up to their work, they now forget small businesses, increasing the amounts they make off with in each attack . The FBI estimates that between October 2013 and December 2016 more than 40,000 “business email compromise” incidents worldwide resulted in $5.3 billion in losses.
So while the take from internet fraud has increased, it’s curious to learn how the money is spent.
According to Lagos State Police Command Public Relations officer, Dolapo Badmus, Yahoo boys do not invest their money, noting that they spend the money immediately it is made. According to her, Yahoo boys or internet scammers have three ways of spending their money immediately they defraud someone. She said many of them spend it on vehicles, in the club and on women.
According to Pulse, online fashion vendors are heavily patronised by internet fraudsters and other members of that ecosystem who are often anxious to sport the latest wears as quickly as they can. Once they’ve made a kill, they share snippets of their private and public life on social media sites.
Few people can afford the overpriced alcohol and exclusive parties that define nightclubs and internet fraudsters are the creme of that class. Known for having a knack for lavish parties and extreme displays of wealth, yahoo boys are among the most important patrons of nightlife in most cities in Nigeria.
“A Yahoo boy might dress in a very conspicuous way with gold chains, flashy props, most fraud boys are more of chameleons. Part of his job description is the requirement to blend into crowds. Thus, fraud boys might also spend in clubs, but they don’t make blog news and attain social media notoriety like their G brothers. Fraud boys also enjoy the flashy lifestyle, but they understand the gifts of minimalism. They’re also more polished,” says Motolani Alake.
They spend a lot of money on escorts. Well-paying crime comes with many perks and among them, it’s hard to separate women and sex, most especially, from the mix. With wads of cash and obvious displays of wealth, yahoo boys have no trouble paying for the pleasure of female company.
According to Deturla, they’re very wasteful. For example, online reports says, King Jide, a Nigerian based in South Africa, popularly known as the Major of Cape Town, lives an expensive lifestyle although no one knows his source of wealth. He became popular when he lavished N5 million on 1 Dom Perigon and 30 Ace of Spades in Lagos.
The Nation newspaper reported when Akpojivi Onoriode, 29, a graduate of Fine and Applied Arts from the Delta State University, Abraka was arrested.
To celebrate his engagement to his then girlfriend (now wife) in December 2014, he bought her a white Toyota Rav4 SUV. To commemorate the engagement, he bought his wife a N20million Mercedes Benz GLE and flaunted it on his Instagram page, just as he did the Toyota Corolla he bought for his mother, the paper said.
Akpojivi’s social media pages tell the story of wealth, taste for luxurious clothes, jewellery, white cars and houses, for himself and his wife, popularly called LePosh. He, his wife and two daughters make regular vacation trips to exotic locations in Africa and the Middle East.
Cars are their passion. Aremo Gucci is a popular socialite with many instagram followers. He also lives an expensive lifestyle, likes to flaunt Gucci items on social media just like Hushpuppi, another noted internet person. He owns plenty of expensive cars and it is said that his house is exquisite. He tried hiding his wealth, but he couldn’t due to the way he spends.
“They drive the most expensive cars, make the loudest noise in the club, pop bottles like their lives depend on it. They compete with other guys in the club as well. They squander money on drinks, girls, expensive gadgets all in a bid to create a ‘rep for the street’ as they say,” says a source.
They spend a lot of money on musicians. Opa6ix, real name is Oluwasegun Akinola Opaogun is also one of the biggest boys in Nigeria. He lives an expensive lifestyle and showcases his wealth on instagram. He has also been mentioned in music by artistes such as Reminisce, Small Doctor and 9ice.
Musicians so love Yahoo Yahoo Boys that “Amin” crooner, Dammy Krane, encouraged his fans to appreciate internet fraudsters better known as Yahoo boys. Taking to social media, the music star said that yahoo boys are the government who make money circulate to everyone.
In his support, Dammy Krane goes on to say that yahoo boys are African music promoters and influencers because they ensure that African music is played anywhere they turn up, even if they are hosting Jay Z.
“I’m just telling, he who has ears let them hear, I’m only revealing things to you through this talk. All the money that is being circulated from the woman that sells pepper to the woman that sells palm oil and to the runs girls (prostitutes) and he spends on you for you to get a cab and buy stuff, where do you think that money is coming from?” says Danny Krane.
Dammy Krane is not the first Nigerian celebrity to show support for Yahoo Yahoo Boys, as stars like Naira Marley and Davido have also shown their approval .
They go around with policemen. According to Stella Dimoko Korkus, a group of yahoo yahoo guys just hit it really big and were spending dollars like it was going out of fashion in Lagos.
“The guys hit about $600million yahoo money and go around with mobile policemen…When they step into clubs on the weekend, they spend nothing less than N20million naira before they step out,” she says.
When you see someone spending lavishly without revealing his source of money, know you’re in the presence of a Yahoo Yahoo operator.