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Many of these fraudsters – dubbed “yahoo-boys” – have become filthy rich. In April 2012, Olasaidi Dare, an undergraduate of the Olabisi Onabanjo University in Ago-Iwoye, was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment for an attempt to obtain money under false pretences in a cyber-café.
On June 5 2012, a Federal High Court in Kaduna State sentenced Imonina Kingsley, of the University of Ilorin, to 20 years’ imprisonment.
Many undergraduates in Nigerian universities dabble in internet fraud.
Nicknamed “yahoo-yahoo” after the international web portal and search engine, this perfidy has become a way of life for the young con-artists.
Then I looked for the profile of people that live in developed countries.
But if it is in Nigeria, I look for people who live in places like Port Harcourt, Abuja [luxury suburbs].
Working in an insecure establishment makes workers vulnerable.
For this I spoke to a number of these “yahoo-boys”.
Plus, the proliferation of internet service providers in Nigeria has made it even easier for scamsters to commit internet fraud.
It is now as simple as buying modems and surfing the internet within the confines of their privately rented apartments on campus.
Quick monetary reward is what “yahoo-boys” have in mind. Sending fraudulent messages to online dating websites and social network sites were reported to be low-risk – but high-profit – areas of specialisation.
A third-year student said to me: I started online fraud in my second semester of 100 level [a session comprised of two academic semesters in Nigerian universities] as an impostor via online dating.
Informal networks are vital to the young scamsters’ success.