By Nnamdi Ojiego

In this special report, Sunday Vanguard examines the threat of Internet fraudsters, also known as the Yahoo Boys, and the dangers this poses to society.

A few days ago, a story was told of how Obinna, a 30-year-old agricultural export businessman, had $ 150,000 stolen by those posing as buyers of Dubai commodities.

Upon investigation, it was discovered that the bank, which allegedly sent New Zealand’s letter of credit to a bank in Nigeria, no longer existed.

It was further learned that the criminals also used a counterfeit letterhead from an Italian bank to complete the questionable transaction.

But because the bank in New Zealand is no longer functioning, it has become a vehicle for fraud by Yahoo Boys to defraud and deceive unsuspecting people like Obinna.

This unpleasant experience has become a daily tale in Nigeria. Many Nigerians, regardless of their economic situation, have been scammed in one way or another. The question is: who are the people who defraud everyone in Nigeria and beyond?

Medications

They are known. They are everywhere in every neighborhood and can be easily identified. They are young, very young; most wear dreadlocks and loose pants. They get together in small groups and make so much noise in bars, hotels and apartments.

They smoke shisha and abuse drugs and substances like cocaine, tramadol, cough syrup, SK and strong, among others. They enjoy the company of skinny young girls who dress and greet them. They celebrate their “victories” by throwing wasps of Naira banknotes into the streets. They are now daring. They are criminals, fraudsters and crooks. They are our children and our brothers and sisters. They are Yahoo Boys.

Their daring was on display recently when some students at the Federal University of Technology in Owerri, Imo State were seen in a viral video celebrating their final exam in their exotic cars, throwing wads of Naira notes in the streets of Owerri. Shortly afterwards, officers from the Benin zone command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, arrested suspected Yahoo Boys who had “rained down a lot” of naira notes in front of the Kada cinema in Benin-City. Their arrest follows a viral video in which the suspects stood on top of their cars and threw wads of Naira in the air in front of the cinema, causing a stampede among passers-by.

Boldness

It is the audacity of what is unfortunately part of our lives as Nigerians. It has become a threat and a source of concern to the country’s leaders and well-meaning citizens. The activities of these fraudsters have become ubiquitous and have taken on international dimensions.

The relentless arrests, prosecutions and convictions of these crooks have not reduced the threat. On the contrary, he seems to embody more young people to join the lousy trend. This perfidy has become a way of life for many young Nigerians. What is worrying is that teenagers – small children in high schools – are recruited daily into this criminal enterprise.

Higher education institutions have become breeding grounds for cybercriminals. Children sent to school to study now live in hotels, working as cyber crooks, defrauding people, driving exotic cars, and living widely on campus. They don’t study but “sort”, bribing lecturers to be successful. They only come to campus with a convoy every now and then to show off.

Yahoo-Yahoo defined

Internet fraud, according to Wikipedia, is a type of cybercrime fraud or deception that uses the Internet and could involve hiding information or providing incorrect information to deceive victims into depriving them of money, property and others. of inheritance. Yahoo-Yahoo is the use of Internet services or software with Internet access to defraud victims or otherwise profit from them. Internet criminal schemes steal millions of dollars each year from victims and continue to infect the Internet through various methods.

Internet fraud is a type of fraud that uses the Internet. This is not a one-time fraud; there are many frauds under that. Internet fraudsters are everywhere, and they come up with innovative tricks to cheat people and wipe money from their bank accounts.

The ugly development, according to Alfred Ononugbo, a forensic expert and criminal intelligence specialist, has taken on a pandemic level. This, he said, is mainly due to the fact that the internet is now easily accessible and cheaper. “One can easily access the Internet using their smart phones. Not just in urban areas, there is also rapid growth of the Internet in rural areas, ”said Ononugbo.

“While the number of people using the Internet is on the increase, Internet fraud is also on the increase and many people have lost their money because of it. “

Unverifiable sources

Speaking on the incitement to Yahoo-Yahoo, the expert noted that Nigeria is a society where people ignore their wealth. According to him, around 70 to 80 percent of the wealth of Nigerians is often attributed to unverifiable sources.

He said: “This is a serious concern. This is why Yahoo-Yahoo is growing. The Yahoo Boys are just scammers who take advantage of the vulnerability of the digital space.

“In the absence of digital crimes, the manual crimes of armed robbery, kidnapping, etc. were the ones we knew, but with the infotech revolution, crime has taken on a new dimension.

“Thus, young people have been exposed to the vulnerabilities of the digital space.

“Again, we are protecting the criminals in Nigeria. If my brother is a criminal, I will protect him; the community will give him a chiefdom title and name him the nicest man.

“So with this rebranding, you won’t see the criminal aspect of this man’s wealth. You will only see his generosity which is an alibi to cover up his crimes.

“We also have an enlightened generation without the possibility of matching and our young people are exposed to unequal opportunities.

“Imagine that people go to school and after graduation there is no more work for them anywhere, which is not a justification but an incentive that encourages delinquency.

“The internet has exposed the world as a community. So what you see on the internet is exactly a digital crime which is common with technology.

“They know that people trust sites and information and that there is a thirst for information. “There is a thirst for exploration, people want to see and explore new lands.

” What does it do ? People are now starting to sell without knowing who is selling and who is buying.

“So it provided breeding grounds for the criminals. They can send misleading information and get you paid, that’s what Internet or Yahoo-Yahoo fraud is.

“They collect people’s private information and use it to withdraw money from their private financial records.”

Nuances of Internet Fraud

Sunday Vanguard has learned that Internet fraud is organized into areas of specialization for successful deviant behavior.

Scammers study the online transaction security network to decide where to pitch their tents.

A quick cash reward is what the Yahoo Boys have in mind. They use different schemes and several high-profile methods to carry out their nefarious activities.

One of the most common scam methods is phishing / identity theft. This is an act of sending an email falsely claiming to be a legitimate business established for the purpose of deceiving the unsuspecting recipient into disclosing personal and sensitive information such as passwords, phone numbers, etc. credit card and bank account information after asking the user to visit a specific website. The website, however, is not genuine and was created solely for the purpose of stealing user information.

ATM fraud

Yahoo Boys is also a big specialist in ATM fraud. They can stand in the galleries of ATMs to simulate assistance to vulnerable users – illiterate, elderly and physically disabled. They later exchange cards to defraud them. Fraudsters carry out their attacks mainly on weekends because banks are not open on weekends. This means that victims will not be able to ask their banks to stop illegal transactions on their accounts until Monday morning when the banks open their doors, even if they receive debit alerts over the weekend.

One of the biggest scams on the Internet is online shopping fraud. By virtue of this, fraudsters have set up bogus online shopping portals with the intention of deceiving innocent people. On the website, they display attractive products at a great price, but once the purchase is made by paying the money, either the counterfeit product is delivered or the product is not delivered at all.

Malware / Scareware

Scareware involves the use of malicious software to damage or disable computers and computer systems. Sometimes frightening tactics are used by perpetrators to solicit funds from victims.

Other ways to scam people over the internet include Business Email Compromise (BEC), Data Breach, Email Account Compromise (EAC), Ransomware, Identity Theft, Email Fraud lottery, social media fraud and marriage / dating fraud.

Recently, fake bank winnings and other bank transaction methods have been used to defraud unsuspecting bank customers.

Until now, Internet fraud has been practiced in public cafes. However, with regular searches of these internet cafes and the arrest of suspected fraudsters by the police, the Yahoo Boys have simply moved their bases. The proliferation of internet service providers in Nigeria has made it even easier for crooks to commit internet frauds. It’s now as easy as buying modems and surfing the Internet within the confines of their private apartments. The Yahoo Boys remain in physical communities of like-minded individuals and use this network to launch attacks on the Internet.

They share information about a particular target and find new ways to make potential targets give in to their deception. They can get help, share the costs of the Internet, and jointly pay for fuel for the generators, which are used to power their computers. For students, they go to school during the day and to social clubs at night to celebrate their successes.

• Next week Yahoo Boys tells how they are looking for victims

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