A Haven for Internet Fraudsters; The Nigeria Story

September 26, 2019

Nigeria is a few more publicised arrests and convictions away from becoming the fraud capital of the world. Even now, financial crimes are somewhat synonymous with the country, scathing the country’s reputation in unimaginable ways.

Where did it all come from?

The Second Republic 80s signaled a dark turn in the history of the country. Corruption was becoming fashionable, although, it hadn’t been institutionalized, and was crippling the country and everything in it. At the time, the country was also in a financial crisis, so everything was basically crumbling.

Then another problem started. Letters from Nigeria started making their ways to the West, asking the recipients for financial assistance. The content of such letters were something like “I am a Nigerian Prince. I have an inheritance, but I cannot access it without your help. Be a dear and get some money across to me so I can get ahead of this thing and get what’s mine, and I will make it a rewarding investment for you.”

The letters must have been pretty convincing because these people believed these faceless strangers and did what they needed to do. Yeah, these folks started sending and losing their money, sometimes, fortune. This birthed the pop culture reference, Nigerian Prince.  

It was the same trend in the 90s, except then, the Nigerian Prince format wasn’t very effective anymore. There was a switch. Now, the targets were white businessmen who were promised juicy business deals in a bid to get money out of them. And this was a hit too. By this time, there was an unofficial name for it – 419 after the section of the Nigerian Criminal Code dealing with fraud, the charges and penalties for offenders.

In the 2000s, when the internet was becoming a thing, the fraudsters saw a bigger opportunity and started leveraging the existence of electronic mail services, which was mainly Yahoo at the time. This was more effective and productive because they could now reach millions of people. It became mainstream and got another name – Yahoo Yahoo; a homage to the service provider.

The years rolled on and business was good. It continued to evolve from one thing to another. The influx of PCs, smartphones, and the evolution of the internet contributed to this. Romance scams, identity theft, phishing, and other sorts of financial fraud are in the mainstream now; almost normalized. The targets now cut across different demography – you are good for them as long as you have money to send.

Yahoo Yahoo continues to grow, and it’s almost become a trade. Believe it or not, there are reports of Yahoo Yahoo Training Schools. More on that here.

Yahoo Yahoo has also been glorified in the Nigerian Entertainment scene on many occasions. Remember Olu Maintain’s Yahooze and Kelly Handsome’s Maga Don Pay?

Earlier this year, Nigerian Rappers, Naira Marley, Zlatan Ibile, and some of their associates were arrested by the EFCC in connection to a fraud case. Zlatan and the others were released, but Naira Marley was held and subsequently charged to court, although he is now out on bail.

In August, 2019. The FBI arrested Nigerian celebrated “self-made” entrepreneur, Invictus Obi, in connection to a massive faud case. Barely a week after, 80 people, most of whom were Nigerians were arrested in connection to what is now known as the “biggest fraud case” in the US.

What a wawu!

Toheeb Lanlehin

Join The Conversation

Bring a friend.

You'll like this

social media bill
November 4, 2020

Nigerians could reverse 21 years of democratic gains with the passage of the social media bill. In fact, over the past few weeks, there has been renewed talks about the passage of the “Protection From Internet Falsehood and Manipulations Bill 2019”, popularly known as the “social media bill”. Meanwhile, this is a complete timeline of […]

August 17, 2020

1. NIMC App Crashes What happens when the National Identity Management Commission mismanages your identity? That means I can’t afford to leave you! By Saturday the much vaunted NIMC App was available for download on digital appstores – keeping in line with the Minister of Interior’s declaration of the drive to digitise the country’s identity […]

Bayelsa David Lyon
February 13, 2020

In perhaps the worst case we’ve ever seen of somebody using their sand-sand to spoil another’s garri, the Bayelsa State Governor-Elect – APC’s David Lyon, just had his victory nullified. It’s all thanks to the efforts of deputy-governor elect, Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo. FYI, this nullification happened just one day to the Bayelsa State inauguration. We promise […]

March 24, 2020

“There is no knowledge that is wasted – Mortal Kombat.” We live in strange times and we need strange measures. This is the regime of handwashing with soap and clean water and in the absence of that, the use of hand sanitizers. Amidst, all of the Covid-19 panic, I went to the pharmacy to stock […]

Watch

Now on Zikoko

November 29, 2020

The idea of a blind date sounds exciting, but nobody really knows what they’re getting themselves into. It can go rather well or horribly wrong. Let’s tell you a short story. One you probably know too well. 1. You are on your lane when your friends decide to set you up on a date You […]

Nigerian Army testifies SARS panel
November 29, 2020

The Nigerian Army has shared their testimony twice at the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry and Restitution For Victims of SARS Related Abuses. At Zikoko Citizen, we have been following the “Lagos SARS panel” ever since the panel was inaugurated, and we have also been present at the panel hearing on the two occasions […]

Recommended Quizzes

November 14, 2019

The fourth season of Big Brother Naija came to an end over a month ago, but the conversation surrounding the housemates is far from over. So, in a bid to keep the fire burning, we decided to create a quiz that tells you which famous member of the ‘Pepper Dem’ gang is your soulmate. Take […]

December 11, 2019

In the past month, we’ve made quizzes that guessed the last time you had sex, how many people you’ve slept with, and just how good you are in bed. For our latest attempt, we will use your taste in Nigerian music from the 2010s to ascertain what you’re like in bed. Take to find out:

how much of an ajebutter
February 12, 2020

Are you an ajebutter or not? Well, if you’ve gone through life blissfully unaware of its harshness, then you probably are. Now, we want to know just how high you rank on that ajebutter scale, using your food preferences as a (very accurate) measure. Take to find out:

December 3, 2019

Are you a professional Yoruba demon? Are you walking around in search of whose life you can wreck at any given time? Well, this quiz knows exactly how many hearts you’ve shattered to date, and before you lie that your result is inaccurate, just remember that Zikoko is never wrong. Now, take it and be […]

October 10, 2019

2019 is certainly Burna Boy’s year, but, if we are being honest, so was 2018. Since his transcendent mixtape, Outside, the afro-fusion star has refused to get his foot of our necks — dropping a string of fantastic singles and then capping it all off with his career-best album, African Giant.  So, in a bid […]

More from Citizen

Nigerian Army testifies SARS panel
November 29, 2020

The Nigerian Army has shared their testimony twice at the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry and Restitution For Victims of SARS Related Abuses. At Zikoko Citizen, we have been following the “Lagos SARS panel” ever since the panel was inaugurated, and we have also been present at the panel hearing on the two occasions […]

Cross River by-election
November 27, 2020

There will be by-elections in Cross River and some states other in Nigeria on December 5, 2020, and we’re counting down to the elections. We have written about everything you need to know about the by-elections and all the candidates in the Bayelsa West and Central Senatorial by-election. In Cross River state, the death of […]

bayelsa by-election
November 26, 2020

A few weeks, ago we wrote about the by-elections that will be taking place on December 5, 2020, including the most important things you need to know. In addition to that, we will be writing about the candidates in the Bayelsa West and Bayelsa Central senatorial by-elections. This is because it is important for you […]

UK Sanctions Nigeria
November 24, 2020

Yesterday, November 24th 2020, the UK parliament, at the Westminister Hall debated e-petition 554150, relating to Nigeria and the sanctions regime. The debate was led by Theresa Villiers MP, and it suggested sanctions for members of the Nigerian Government and police officers who have been involved in human rights abuses. The parliamentary debate has generated […]

Nigeria recession
November 23, 2020

Recession, palliative, ad-hoc committee, ultra-modern, bistro — you can’t claim to be a Nigerian if you’ve never heard these words. They are so popular, we wrote about them. Speaking of recession, on Saturday, November 22nd, 2020, the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics reported that Nigeria’s GDP (Gross Domestic Product) reduced by 3.62% from September to October […]

November 19, 2020

The Nigerian police is ranked as one of the worst in the world, and the Nigerian society is notable for widespread human rights abuses. In your house or outside it, you’re always a moment away from having your rights abused by the police in Nigeria. After the #EndSARS protests, the Nigerian police have ramped up […]

CNN Lekki
November 18, 2020

Some Nigerians were still rolling in their bed this morning, trying to pick up pieces of their lives after the Lekki Massacre, when CNN Africa sent shockwaves through Nigeria’s part of the Internet.  In a brilliant collation of all the videos that have trended over the #LekkiMassacre, mixed with excellent investigative reportage that made use […]

Eromosele Adene
November 17, 2020

If you don’t know about Eromosle “Eromz” Adene’s case, well you should. The arrest of the 27-year old musician and philanthropist has generated a lot of controversy across social media, with opinions and counter opinions on how horrible the Nigerian society is, and why the Nigerian government cannot keep abusing human rights while getting away […]

Watch

Trending Videos

Zikoko Originals

November 2, 2020
'The Couch' is a Zikoko series featuring real life stories from anonymous people.
October 26, 2020
A collection of videos documenting some of the events of the EndSARS protests.
June 22, 2020
'The Couch' is a Zikoko series featuring real life stories from anonymous people.
June 22, 2020
Hacked is an interesting new series by Zikoko made up of fictional but hilarious chat conversations.
June 4, 2020
What happens when a group of chatty young Nigerians talk about things they're passionate about? You get Nigerians talk. A show that discusses very familiar struggles for the average Nigerian. From relationship deal breakers to sex education with Nigerian parents to leaving Nigeria, be prepared for a ride.
June 2, 2020
Quickie is a video series where everyone featured gets only one minute to rant, review or do absolutely anything.
May 14, 2020
Isolation Diary is a Zikoko series that showcases what isolation is like for one young Nigerian working from home due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
March 12, 2020
Life is already hard. Deciding where to eat and get the best lifestyle experiences, isn't something you should stress about. Let VRSUS do that for you.
February 6, 2020
Who doesn't want to find love? In our bid to help, we paired up a bunch of single Nigerians, sending them on an all-expense paid date, and interviewing them before and after they met.

Z! Stacks

Here's a rabbit hole of stories to lose yourself in:

Zikoko amplifies African youth culture by curating and creating smart and joyful content for young Africans and the world.
X