Yahoo Boys: Cyber Crime’s “Kings”

You must be sceptical in life. Not all that glitters is gold.

As we can see more and more often, the insatiable craving for money, fame, and power that drives today’s young nuts has grown to hazardous proportions. Even if social media brings us closer together, it also deepens the gap.

When we contemplate living in the third world, or the poorest regions of our planet in particular, this topic becomes incredibly important to us.

Fast money earned through unethical means is so prevalent that it stifles genuine growth and advancement.

Cyber crime is on the rise as a result of today’s globalised culture, in which the internet has invaded every facet of our lives.

Nigeria has grown into a global cyber crime powerhouse. The Yahoo Boys are one of the country’s most well-known ensembles. Yahoo Boys’ fraudulent emails have reached millions of email users. The media has extensively covered high-profile victims in the West, and the US Federal Bureau of Investigation listed Yahoo Boys as the third worst organisation in the world.

Yahoo Boys: Cyber crime’s “Kings”
The relentless and hungry Yahoo Boys perpetrate the vast majority of internet frauds, with terrible consequences for their victims.

Among the many varieties of online fraud, the “Yahoo Boys” are a well-known organisation. These Nigerian citizens employ sophisticated tactics to dupe and defraud unsuspecting people all around the world.

Yahoo boys are Nigerian online scammers. They are the spawn of the legendary 419 scammers, who promoted their services through letters and subsequently emails, promising to make strangers wealthy in exchange for a little upfront fee. Their name is derived from the email service provider Yahoo, which became famous in Nigeria in the 2000s. (The term “419” relates to a section of Nigeria’s criminal law dealing with fraud.)

The “Yahoo Boys” are a group of internet scammers who usually connect via email and texting. They commit internet fraud. Although they began with Yahoo Mail, they have now expanded their operations to encompass social networking, dating services, and online classifieds.

Yahoo Boys use social media to find both members and victims. A quick search yields Yahoo Boys profiles and groups including photographs of young men with lavish lifestyles, money, vehicles, and expensive attire. They exchange samples of phoney social media profiles, templates for messaging to victims, and fraud strategies, considering it as a full-time or part-time job.

The Yahoo Boys’ most common approaches and techniques were revealed during the investigation:

  • Advance Fee Scam: One of the most common techniques used by Yahoo Boys is the infamous “419 Scam” or “Nigerian Prince Scam.” They entice victims to pay upfront payments or provide personal information in exchange for a big financial opportunity or inheritance in this scheme.
  • Phishing Scams: Yahoo Boys regularly use phishing techniques to trick users into revealing personal information. They imitate well-known organisations or financial institutions by posing as legitimate entities, sending fraudulent emails, or constructing bogus websites.
  • Non-Shipping Scams: Yahoo Boys sell things online while impersonating actual business owners. Victims pay for ordering, shipping, and border crossing but never receive their purchases. This is a popular trick in real estate scams, with scammers posting photographs of non-existent apartments and mansions.
  • Romance Scams: Yahoo Boys exploit people’s emotions by creating fake accounts on dating sites or social media platforms. They develop an emotional bond with their victims and then dupe them into handing over money or valuables. Sexual extortion becomes an element of the hoax when the victim provides intimate images and the scammers threaten to release them.

A particular type of Yahoo boy was a romance scammer who purported to be someone else online in order to trick foreigners into trusting him and giving him money.

Their game is largely about proximity. They make an effort to form what appears to be a genuine bond with their victims. They complement them, make jokes about them, and ask intimate questions. What matters most to them is the continuation of the conversation. It all boils down to their perseverance. It takes a long time for the “client” to trust them.

Yahoo lads had a term for their victims: maga, which means stupid, stupid, or credulous.

According to FTC data, Americans over the age of 60 appear to lose the most money to online fraud. Given the enormous number of scam victims in the majority of Western countries, this trend is most likely correct. Loneliness, not age, according to the Yahoo men, is what prompts someone to fall for a love hoax.

And how much are we willing to pay to prevent loneliness?
According to a Harvard study, 51% of mums with small children and 61% of young adults in the country feel “serious loneliness.”

High blood pressure, dementia, anxiety, and paranoia have all been linked to a severe sense of isolation, according to research. It may also have an impact on how we interact with the outside world and reason with ourselves. Given how many people were cut off from normal life during the COVID pandemic, it’s hardly surprising that the romance-scam industry exploded. According to the FTC, romance scams will cost Americans $1.3 billion in 2021.

The number of love fraudsters in Nigeria is unknown, but it could be in the hundreds of thousands, despite police and judicial efforts to identify and prosecute all of them.

Many Nigerians connect Yahoo guys with young men who have chosen a life of crime, preying on strangers and tarnishing Nigeria’s reputation. Their greed and desire to make a quick buck have blinded them.

Others, on the other side, see the Yahoo Boys as young men who were pushed to the limit by their circumstances.

Although average monthly earnings in Nigeria are equivalent to those in 1980, the country’s 15-34-year-old unemployment rate is reported to be 53.4 percent.

Many individuals complain that government corruption is far worse than what the Yahoo lads are doing. “Fraudsters steal from foreigners and spend money here”, “Politicians steal from us and spend money abroad.” Nigeria’s inflation rate is ridiculous. The price is rising. Joining Yahoo is the only way for young Nigerians to survive. There is no office company that will pay you as much as Yahoo will.

They usually purported to be American soldiers stationed in Afghanistan or another conflict-torn country.

Consider this: you may have received a message on Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, or any other dating app asking how you’re doing or complimenting your profile photograph. Maybe you even played practical jokes on your friends. Scammers are aware that while the majority of people will not respond, on rare instances someone will. The “client” is that individual, and the dance begins.

In Nigeria, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission is in charge of pursuing harsh measures against con artists and anyone who aids or encourages them.

Following a comprehensive investigation by the police, a Nigerian court found 28 people guilty of offences such as internet fraud, impersonation, and attempting to collect money under false pretences in September 2023. One count on different claims involving internet fraud.

The suspects were apprehended in several Makurdi locations on suspicion of participating in cybercrime. According to investigations, they were using bogus identities to fool people into thinking they were part of a social network.

There are no exact figures on how much money Yahoo Boys scams have made. However, the estimated yearly cost of fraud in the United Kingdom is £9 billion.

Finally, consider how isolated we are as people in this day and age when everything is at our fingertips.

And how much are we willing to pay to prevent loneliness?

This post was written by Mario Bekes