Nigerians use computers in an Internet cafe in Lagos. FESTAC, Nigeria — As patient fishermen, the young men toil day and night, trawling for replies to the e-mails they shoot to strangers half a world away. Most recipients hit delete, delete, delete, delete without ever opening the messages that urge them to claim the untold riches of a long-lost deceased second cousin, and the messages that offer millions of dollars to help smuggle loot stolen by a corrupt Nigerian official into a U.
But the few who actually reply make this a tempting and lucrative business for the boys of Festac, a neighborhood of Lagos at the center of the cyber-scam universe.
The targets are called maghas — scammer slang from a Yoruba word meaning fool, and refers to gullible white people. Samuel is 19, handsome, bright, Dating scams in lagos nigeria and ambitious.
He has a special flair for computers. Until he quit the game last year, he was one of Festac's best-known cyber-scam champions. Like nearly everyone here, he is desperate to escape the run-down, teeming streets, the grimy buildings, the broken refrigerators stacked outside, the strings of wet washing.
It's the kind of place where plainclothes police prowl the streets extorting bribes, where mobs burn thieves to death for stealing a cellphone, and where some people paint "This House Not For Sale" in big letters on their homes, in case someone posing as the owner tries Dating scams in lagos nigeria put it on the market.
It is where places like the Net Express cyber cafe thrive. The atmosphere of silent concentration inside the cafe is absolute, strangely reminiscent of a university library before exams. Except, that is, for the odd guffaw or cheer. The doors are locked from In this sanctum, Samuel says, he extracted thousands of American e-mail addresses, sent off thousands of fraudulent letters, and waited for replies. He thinks disclosure of his surname could endanger his safety.
The e-mail scammers here prefer hitting Americans, whom they see as rich and easy to fool. They rationalize the crime by telling themselves there are no real victims: Maghas are avaricious and complicit.
To them, the scams, called after the Nigerian statute Dating scams in lagos nigeria fraud, are a game.
White people are greedy, I can say they are greedy White men, I will eat your dollars, will take your money and disappear. Scammers, he said, "have the belief that white men are stupid and greedy.
They say the American guy has a good life. There's this belief that for every
Dating scams in lagos nigeria they lose, the American government will pay them back in some way. The scams
Dating scams in lagos nigeria fabulous riches or the love of your life, but first the magha has to send a series of escalating fees and payments.
In a dating scam, for instance, the fraudsters send pictures taken from modeling websites. I just can't get over your beauty!!!! I can't believe my luck!!!!!!! The scammer replied, "Would you send the money this week so I may buy a ticket? I don't have the money
Dating scams in lagos nigeria. I will get it, though.
Don't you worry your pretty lil head, hun," the victim wrote back. The real push comes when the fictional girlfriend or fiancee, who claims to be in America, goes to Nigeria for business.
In a series of "mishaps," her wallet is stolen and she is held hostage by the hotel owner until she can come up with hundreds of dollars for the bill. She needs a new airline ticket, has to bribe churlish customs officials and gets caught. Finally, she needs a hefty get-out-of-jail bribe. Secret Service estimates such schemes net hundreds of millions of dollars annually worldwide, with many victims too afraid or embarrassed to report their losses.
Basil Udotai Dating scams Dating scams in lagos nigeria lagos nigeria the government's Nigerian Cybercrime Working Group said fraud represents a tiny portion Nigerian computer crime, but is taken seriously by authorities because of the damage it does to the country's reputation.
We are putting together measures that will tackle all forms of online crime and Dating scams in lagos nigeria law enforcement agencies opportunities to combat it. There have been 12 convictions in such cases brought during that time, he said. Okauru said he felt this was a good result given the sluggishness of Nigeria's legal system, critics say the courts are too slow and corrupt.
Nigerian authorities, extremely sensitive about crime, say
Dating scams in lagos nigeria scammers are mostly from other countries, and that any Nigerians who participate do so because of high unemployment and, above all, the greed of victims.
When Samuel, at age 15, sat down in a cyber cafe and started drilling away at the keyboard, he had no idea he was being watched by one of Festac's cyber-crime wizards.
After noting Samuel's speed Dating scams in lagos nigeria skill, the Dating scams in lagos nigeria boss, nicknamed Shepherd, invited him to his mansion to try extracting e-mail addresses using search engines. Then, to make Samuel feel special, he took him shopping for designer clothes. When you're around him he you feel you have no problems," Samuel said. Shepherd hooked him with the same bait he uses for maghas.
They're big, made of marble.
He's got big-screen TVs, a swimming pool inside. He lives like a prince. Dating scams in lagos nigeria the biggest guy in this town. The money he had, the cars. He sent e-mails a day and usually received seven replies. Shepherd would then take over. Soon he was working for two bosses, Shepherd and Colosi, both well known to authorities but neither of them bothered in a place where police
Dating scams in lagos nigeria in the scams is widely alleged.
They will show some documents: This has presidential backing, this has government backing. And you will be convinced because they will tell you in such a way that you Dating scams in lagos nigeria be able to say no.
They seized thousands of foreign and Nigerian passports, 10, blank British Airways tickets, 10, U. The scams often involve bogus Internet
Dating scams in lagos nigeria, such as lottery websites, or oil company, bank or government sites.
The scammers sometimes use London phone prefixes to make victims think they calling Britain. Though the fraud is apparent to many, some people think they have stumbled on a once-in-a-lifetime deal, and scammers can string Dating scams in lagos nigeria along for months with mythical difficulties.
Some victims eventually contribute huge sums of money to the deal when it is suddenly "at risk. Kovacsics says he is awakened several nights a week by Americans pleading for help with an emergency, such as a fiancee whom they have only met in an online chat room locked up in a Nigerian jail.
He has to tell them that there is probably no fiancee, no emergency. ByShepherd was fleecing 25 to 40 victims a month, Samuel said. Samuel said Shepherd employs seven Nigerians in America, including one in the San Francisco Bay Area, to spy on maghas and threaten any who get cold feet. If a big deal is going off track, he calls in all seven. If the white guy
Dating scams in lagos nigeria getting suspicious, he'll call them all in and say, 'Can you finish this off for me?
Or you're going to be arrested and you will face trial in Nigeria. We know the D. I want a good life. The friend was badly beaten before disappearing into the depths of the labyrinthine Nigerian justice Dating scams in lagos nigeria. Samuel thought of his mother and how she would be left alone if something happened to him. When he gave up cyber crime at the end of last year, he said nothing to his mother. I couldn't control myself. I realized there was more to life than money.
You'll come back to me. The scams can involve phony websites, forged documents and Nigerians in America posing as government officials. Here are some of the most popular: Be the first to comment Hide Comments.