In 2011, the FBI received close to 30,000 reports of advance fee ploys, called “419 scams” after the section of the Nigerian criminal code that outlaws fraud.The agency received over 4,000 complaints of advance fee romance scams in 2012, with victim losses totaling over million.“There is this boy in Kaduna [a city in northern Nigeria] who made over 2 million naira” last year on 419 scams, Danjuma says.“And he is not even 18.” The two fraudsters make most of their money duping fellow Nigerians.Nigerians aren’t the only ones committing international advance fee fraud, but nearly one-fifth of all such scams originate in the West African country.The scams often involve phony lottery winnings, job offers, and inheritance notices.They called these cons “Yahoo” jobs, pronounced Ya-OO.
They’ll fly potential marks to Ghana, for example, and put them up in a fancy hotel while they meet with Sheye and Danjuma’s faux business partners there.
He said there was no way that his dudes would talk for less than 0. So I offered 0 for a rare glimpse at the human faces behind the syntax-challenged spam. I sat down with Sheye and Danjuma* on the back patio of a fancy duplex in an upscale neighborhood in one of the country’s main cities, and the two dished on their craft, constantly interrupting each other as they downed bottles of Nigerian Star lager and chain-smoked.
Though they lie for a living, Sheye insisted, “We are telling you the fact and the truth.” Sheye and Danjuma have a name for the advance-fee email scams, in which victims agree to to send money to a stranger, banking on the promise of love or fast money.
He knows if he meets “a Saudi Arabia person,” he’s in luck.
“They don’t know what to do with money.” “Whenever we want to fraud somebody, we will know what you are worth,” Danjuma says. ” Even “how much you have in your account.” They glean all this information just by developing a tight relationship with the dupe.
Since Ghana is a less corrupt country, they say, victims are more likely to enter into a business deal with a Ghanaian than a Nigerian.