First, I know that cyber theft is a big deal everywhere in the world and we wouldn’t just single out certain people and say it is peculiar to them. However, I do not know how many people all over the world operate theirs but I know that sometimes it involves hacking through people’s accounts or credit card information. Sometimes it involves introducing a virus into people’s devices, bank servers and other financial institutions to clone credit and debit cards, change the passwords and withdraw people’s funds with it. Cyber theft is vast and people who do that are without conscience no matter what their excuses are. They are in America, India and so many places all over the world! They steal people’s hard earned money and leave them shattered and depressed. Well, today I want to talk about the cyber criminals in Nigeria. Just a sneak view into how they operate, we might have an in-depth view into it later.
They have a label; their gang is called “Yahoo Boys” or “G guys”. They stay home all days but they make a lot of money. They are one of those who believe the only purpose for our existence is to make money and if you are looking for people who have no conscience, search no further. They go about in a code called “street”, so if anyone tells you “I hustle in the street” it doesn’t mean they sell snacks in the street! The brand “Yahoo Boys” goes back to the time when Yahoo mail was the king of all emails before Google “technically” overpowered them. It all started with sending emails to the victims.
With Android, Google mail became almost compulsory at least in the parts of the world where the pure android runs without core customization hence the name “G Guys”. So what exactly does “Yahoo Boys” do? They ride in expensive cars! Is that it? No, they have lots of girlfriends whom they bath with lots of cash! Wait a minute! They trade pants? Like, they import pants from China? Maybe they deal in direct “second hand” pants. Oh well, you would guess they have huge shares in the Yahoo empire!
Like it sounds, they spend most of their time on the internet. Do they blog? Do they do online affiliate marketing? No! They are on the internet in masked faces, their faces are masked and all you see is the profiles of wonderful white guys who deal in oil wells, who sell cars, who help people in tourism and so much more! Behind those white faces are hardened black criminals! They are not Spanish, they are not British, they are not Americans, and they are not South Africans! They are just Nigerians, Ghanaians and some other Africans who believe that this is the best way to make money now. Some actually don’t come in the mask of whites; they come in the mask of blacks who are very rich! When a black is their target, they come in the profile of very rich whites and when a white is their target, they come in the profile of blacks who can help the white man do business with ease. Sometimes too, they are just all out for those aged white women who are willing to date such handsome dudes they portray themselves as.
They have convincing stories they’d use to get anyone! They have these lines saved up somewhere in a private folder of their laptops. There is no stress, they just copy and paste and each answer they receive have a reply that is well scripted. They share these stories and strategies within their groups and every victim is referred to as “maga” and hence “Maga must pay!”
Today, it is becoming a norm, they ride the best cars in town, and they take up any woman of their dreams! Oh, yea! These days it is never wrong anymore to follow men because of their money! Everyone has what they want in a man or woman after all. I listened to an American preacher endorse marrying men because of money and it was shameful to have come from her and we all have followed suit. What is life without money? They wear the latest 24karat gold chains, live a fast-food life and furnish their houses to their taste. They spend money on hotels and night parties! Sometimes, they get poor in a flash, start begging in the streets and then suddenly hit up again and you see them bubbling on the streets. They usually don’t have savings as the French proverb says “ill-gotten, ill spent.”
Nigeria is becoming “Yahoo-friendly” anyway! They are on the increase and they are infiltrating every nook and cranny of our cities. Many of them are school dropouts while some managed to buy their way to the top. You don’t have to be 18 to be one, no wonder they are full of childishness. They are our neighbours, they are our friends on Facebook and they are those people that post things like “God has blessed our hustle. Oluwa has done it again!” on Facebook as an announcement of the latest house or car they just bought!
Why are Nigerian and some other countries becoming Yahoo-friendly? Talk against this menace and people say “you are judging! Are you perfect?” If we should celebrate these guys, we should celebrate rapists too! We should celebrate Boko Haram terrorists and celebrate murderers!”
Let me even tell you a bit about what these people do! They engage rich people and sometimes “not so rich” people in discussions; they put up fake profiles pretending to be who they are not! Some of them claim to be businessmen and the moment they strike thousands of dollar deal with an unsuspecting person, they divert the money to their accounts and holla! The celebration continues as they change to another car and perhaps another girlfriend. They call it “hustle” anyway.
Another kind of scamming they do is pretending to be the daughter of a “dead billionaire” who willed all of his money to them. They pretend they are victims of war and in refugee camps, they pretend they need your help to get out of those camps with promises of you taking over their father’s money and sending them just a little of it to start a life! In the process, you are connected to a “lawyer” who asks for a consultation fee of perhaps 10,000 dollars to be able to work out the will of millions of dollars into your favour and if you fall for it, it is another big hit!
Back to what I wanted to say earlier! These people are the new celebrities in Nigeria, they are the new role models for certain parents who would call their boys and say to them “is Emeka not your mate? But look at him now, is he not doing better than you? And you are still in this house dragging a plate of food with your siblings!” After so much pressure, what do you expect Emeka to do? He joins the gang! They are on the increase and they don’t even get arrested anymore because it is becoming the norm and people are adopting and accepting it as “hustle!” Young boys face lots of pressure every day seeing these people do whatever they want to do and get away with it. Some of us who grew up in decent homes are also been pressured to follow suit since it seems there isn’t any legal success in Nigeria.
If you see one today in your streets, don’t bother calling the Police! The Police are their friends too and a few thousand naira notes will reverse the case and get you into the prison instead of on the grounds of “character defamation.” They walk about with heavy tattoos, pierced ears and serious “timberland” shoes like those rappers we see on TV! They have their special kind of girls; not all girls’ fall for all boys anyway but be careful, your girl may be their victim soon. They have friends in the Army too!
A Pastor once said to me “I have nothing against what they do; they are simply recovering all the money the white men looted from the black nations! They are simply putting their brain to work.” I was very disappointed! Oh, yea, some of them pay tithes too, they support the “building project” and even receive blessings from Pastors who know for sure that there is something wrong with how these boys make their money.
Guess what? I heard there is an upgraded version of the business now and if you aren’t in the upgrade, you are still a “Jew”. In Nigeria, a Jew is someone who doesn’t know “wassup!” They call the upgraded version “Yahoo Plus” and I heard it is headquartered in Ghana with Asaba and Lagos racing to meet up. I learnt Yahoo-plus involves certain kinds of rituals including stealing a woman’s pant or used pad to appease some kind of spirit for favour! Oh yea, this is the current level now.
Whether that “pant and pad” is truly working wonders or not, people are truly stealing pants and wanting to do rituals with it. These days, I stay on the public bus and the person before me is chatting with a white woman, initiating serious moves on deceiving them and making away with money! They don’t hide anymore, they are not even afraid of anything because as long as this our country is concerned, it is normal and a few notes will solve it when the Police decide to pretend they are working. You want to ask how I see their chats? Oh, well, they don’t protect it, you don’t have to peep to see it.
How can we sit down and see people who steal people’s lifetime earnings as great guys and role models? Sometimes I wonder what people who say “nothing is wrong with it” are thinking? Yea, the excuse is that politicians steal and therefore if we must hunt thieves, we must start from politicians! If this logic is cool, are those people being duped of their lifetime earnings the politicians in Nigeria who messed with the country’s economy? Another excuse is that white men plundered our country and therefore the “yahoo guys” are getting back the wealth. Is that a sound logic? How does it even add up? By duping innocent folks?
Even if it is true that the white men plundered our countries, are those people they are duping their lifetime savings the ones guilty of the offence? Nothing justifies evil and if we continue to keep quiet it will continue to thrive! Well, I am not even trying to stop them… I just want to let the few who thinks the world has not gotten to this level know where we are and the chances available for them to be deceived.
Some of them sound responsible; some of them even sound like I do. But be very careful who you are dealing with. Nigerians aren’t the only “Yahoo Boys”, they are all over the world but I can only speak for Nigeria where I am. We have them all over us as neighbours and I even heard one on the Phone driving a white man with his tongues and warming up to receive 90,000 dollars!
It hurts me seeing these things happen and I say this with every sense of patriotism. Fear every Facebook profile that has a white man as their pictures with 60% Nigerians on his or her friends’ list and with African name on their Facebook URL. Don’t do any transaction with people you’ve not seriously built a level of trust with. Their targets aren’t just the whites, they start learning their craft on their neighbors first. You know why Paypal doesn’t allow Nigerians and other similar countries to be receiving money with it? It is because it will ease fraud! I have been approached by some folks to develop a website through which they would use it’s payment gateways to ease the movement of money and I don’t do their bidding because I don’t want to be involved. I rather gather it slowly than hit what isn’t mine.
There is no big sin or a small sin right? Oh, yea! In God’s sight, an offence is an offence but in man’s sight, we calculate the heaviness of crimes by the level with which it will hurt the other person. It takes absolute wickedness and heavy greed to be on this path of evil. Yahoo boys or G-boys, they are cyber criminals, reaping where they never sowed, breaking homes and denying an entire family ease of life.
I will be back on this.
~ George O.N