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.He did not send money for me.” “Because you love me, then you say, ‘Okay,'” Sheye interrupts. I keep on enjoying with my girls here.” He laughs wildly.Over the past decade or so, the United States has cracked down on Nigerian Internet scams.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.I just returned from a reporting trip to Nigeria, where I was traveling around the country talking to terrorism experts, nomadic cattle herders, and government officials about how global warming affects conflict in the country. As a newswire reporter focused on the terrorist group Boko Haram, he was able to provide crucial context for my story.But Michael* also grew up a “street boy,” meaning he was able to make fast friends in the slum villages and farming communities we visited.
The two say they own homes worth about a quarter million dollars each.“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.Ten years ago, Sheye and Danjuma, who are both in their mid-30s, say they could make up to 2 million naira—about ,000—per Yahoo job, but the “US are very wise” now, Sheye says.They typically only make about 0 per “client” these days, though they know other scammers who still rake in millions of naira through the email schemes.