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Tuesday, December 6, 2022

‘Why youths go into ‘Yahoo yahoo’

By Adedotun Ajayi


Internet scam is a fraudulent activity as spelt out by section 419 of Nigeria’s Criminal Code TechCabal stands against cyber fraud in all its forms but our knowledge of our society is dependent on understanding all its moving parts.
The age-old ‘Nigerian Prince’ scam has become the theme of popular jokes in the United States and around the world, but variants of these internet fraud schemes still bedevil unsuspecting victims.
Cybercriminals (Yahoo boys) in Nigeria continue to operate and improve their scams with tech tools: VPN applications to mask their location, photo manipulation software to create false appearances, taking advantage of bitcoin anonymity to receive fraudulent proceeds and creating web pages for phishing and more.
Perplexed at how these scams still thrive despite their popularity, The Hope interviewed a scammer who was, surprisingly, eager to spill the reason why he chose that lifestyle, taking pride in the ingenuity of the ‘hustle’.
Perhaps understandably, he refused to say his real name but asked to be called “Mazi Moneygram”.
Mazi Moneygram who is a graduate of computer science in Federal University of technology Akure told The Hope his reasons for been a “yahoo boy”.
His words “I graduated 2013, intently i moved to Lagos for greener pastures, on getting to Lagos I was job hunting for more than 3years with no positive result, I tried my best to be responsible but the Nigeria government didn’t give me a chance, then I got in contact with a friend of mine who travelled to Malaysia after we graduated, I explained my predicament to him, after all said and done, he taught me the “hustle” I spend my typical workday running romance and virtual job scams, pretending to be a forty-eight-year-old Argentine immigrant living in the United States. I was in my twenties then, in Lagos and I’ve never travelled outside Africa before. My scams focus mainly on the United States, and sometimes Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia.
Typically, i pay to sign up on dating sites like Match, Tinder or Zoosk to find vulnerable clients. The reason why I pay for these sites is because free dating sites are full of scammers, so you might find yourself chatting with other scammers. The victims of the scams are called ‘clients’.
I look for female clients over fifty years old. They are the most vulnerable in my opinion, especially ones who live alone, with children away at college. I become their lover, confidant and everything else, in a very short time.
We Gboys believe that the money we are collecting belongs to our forefathers the white enslaved back in the days.
Mazi Moneygram who attributed the choice of life he chose to the rate of unemployment in the country, in his words “when I was job hunting in Lagos then, assuming i got a suitable job then I wouldn’t have gone into fraudulent activities, and right now even if I’m given a job, I don’t think I want because the salary I’ll get from a legit work in Nigeria for a year, I can get it in 2days in this my “hustle” I have invested in properties and other businesses, Yahoo has done good things for me and my family, what the Nigerian government can never do.
Speaking on the contrary, a fraudster who prefers to be called “ijoba wire” in his words said “Yahoo Yahoo is a choice. If everybody considers how tough things are in this country, we all will be thieves. But I chose this lifestyle because my taste is expensive and the average Nigerian lifestyle cannot get me to where I want in life, The hard work that goes into being a Yahoo Boy can be expended to create a legit hustle but we chose fraud, I mean we save money to buy laptop, buy modem, pay for monthly internet subscription just to defraud people of their money, the equipments we bought can use used for a legit hustle but who chose fraud because it’s fast money.
Yahoo boys should never act like the life was forced on them. Just own up to your crime with all of your chest. Nobody should hide under the country is hard excuse. Na only you country hard for? You chose to be a fraudster, it is that simple. Back in school, my roommate who was also a Yahoo boy defrauded a white woman. She sent her life-savings, borrowed from family members. This boy collected the funds and squandered it. Weeks later, the woman committed suicide when she found out it was a fraud.
How are we different from Offa Robbers?
Although because I am a yahoo boy doesn’t mean I shouldn’t have sense,
It is one thing to be a thief, it is a totally different thing to rub it in the face of those who did not choose crime, I don’t go about showing off, if I don’t tell you I’m into fraud you can never know.
My heart broke when I saw the video of that boy that said he wants to ‘chache’ when he grows up. People found the video funny but really there was nothing funny about that video. Absolutely nothing!
It was a heart-wrenching awakening.
If truly the bad economy, unemployment, corrupt politicians & government officials are your reasons for going into fraud, how then do you explain the lavish lifestyle you live?
you just want a fast life & the risks involved in armed robbery scared you. So you chose Yahoo!
Speaking on how to put an end to the menace of “Yahoo” Dr. Mayowa Popoola, Lecturer at the federal university of technology, Akure (FUTA) in his words “there is a popular proverb in Nigeria that says “prevention is better than cure”. For the government to solve the problem of internet fraud, it has to think of ways to prevent it. One of such ways is to get the youths involved in gainful employment. “An idle mind is the devil’s workshop” says another common proverb. The minds and hands of our youths needs to be totally occupied with productive ventures. In fact, when the government creates jobs, it solves a whole lot of problems. It’s like killing many birds with one stone.
In addition, the society needs to speak up against the crime. There is something in law called “passive accomplice” or “passive complicity”. It means when you witness a crime or know that a crime will happen but refuse to report to law enforcement agents. Many Nigerians are guilty of this. We turn a blind eye to the crime because of the pecuniary benefit we derive from the criminals or because we’re afraid of what the criminals would do to us. I must point out that reporting crimes to the Nigerian Police is somehow suicidal.
The government needs to reform the law enforcement agencies. They seem to be passive accomplice to the boys. Almost every Nigerian policeman is out there looking for a “yahoo boy” that he will “suck” some money from. They no longer go after armed robbers because they don’t pay and are dangerously confrontational unlike the “yahoo boys” who are so willing to part with some money at any time.
Finally, the government needs to create an enabling environment that would encourage unleashing of people’s potentials. Putting your creativity to work should earn you benefits that would make life enjoyable. When people can’t profit from using their creativity in good ventures, they will invest their potentials in negative ventures that would yield to them the good things of life. I usually tell people that money and material things are a very necessary motivation whether you are doing something good or bad.
Internet fraud is a problem that can be solved and now is the best time to start. It has dented the country’s image abroad. Nigerians are frequently put through embarrassing situations when they travel to other countries because of the bad image the country has acquired. All hands must be on deck if we are to put and end to the menace.


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